Skip to main content

Full text of "The march of fate. A novel"

See other formats



B.LFarjeon 






r 





THE LIBRARY 
OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



THE MARCH OF FATE 



THE MARCH OF FATE. 



B 1Rov>cl. 



BY 

B. L. FAKJEON, 

AUTUOn OK 

"GKRAT PORTER SQl'ARF," "TOILERS OF BAIJVLOX, ' 
•A YOUN(J GIRL'S LIFK,- "THE MYSTERY Ol- M. KELLY," &c. 



7.V THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 



LONDON : 

F. V. WHITE & CO., 
31, SOUTHAMPTON STKEET, STRAND, W.C. 

1893. 



PRINTED BV 
KKLI.V AND CO. LIMITED, GATE STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, W.C, 

AND KINGSTON-ON-THAMES. 






CONTENTS 



f'HAr. r'A(;K 

XVII. — Thk Diary Continued ... 1 

XVIII. — FoRTHER Links .... 35 

XIX.— The Portrait .... 55 

XX, — A Second Visit to Ckudlkioh . 66 

XXI. — A Letter from Honoria . . 78 

XXII. — Mr. Haldane Receives a Characteu 90 

XXIII. — Who is the Master? ... 95 

XXIV. — Mr. Millington Resigns nis Com- 
mission ...... 105 

XXV. — Simpson Makes a Night of it . 123 

XXVI. — Honoria makes Hkr*Reappearance 138 



Ube irbir5 Xink— fa6f3ionc^ of Xettcrs 
Mritten bv Xovcrs an& Jfvicn^s, ifalse anC) 

XTrue. 

CUAl'. PAGE 

XXVII —Letters 149 

XX.VIII. — Letters Continued . . . 172 



c: r-cr iC^'yo 



THE MARCH OF FATE. 



THE MARCH OF FATE. 



private Snqutr^, Surrcv Street, TiaC- 
CILVPTEII XVII. (conimued). 

THE DIARY CONTINUED. 

Whether months or years have passed I 
cannot say. I boasted of my memory once ; 
it has failed me, and I can no longer depend 
upon it. 

I have been haunted by visions and terrible 
images and fancies. I cannot separate the 
real from the unreal. I know not what is 
false and what is true. Here in my lonehness 
I sit and write, and what I write shall cro to 
her to whom I pour out my soul. I will find 
a way. Have I not succeeded in stealing- 
paper and pen and ink P In the midst of my 
delirium I have an occasional hour of reason, 

VOL. II u; 



2 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

an hour in which I am able to think of the 
horrible past, to grope through fact and 
fancy. " Be calm, Adeline," I say to myself ; 
" be strong ; hold fast to the present ; brush 
aside the phantoms ; set the truth plainly 
before you." 

I will do what I can. If I fail, forgive me, 
and out of the goodness of your heart unravel 
the mesh which bewilders me. 

It is true that I live — it is the unhappy 
truth. I prove it. This sheet of paper is 
stained with my blood. 

It did not hurt me. I can conquer 
physical pain, if I cannot conquer the 
phantoms which lurk in the air. I know 
they are there, though at this moment I 
behold them. I cannot because I will not. I 
could call them to my sight, but I hold them 
back till I have finished the task I have set 
myself. While I have a spark of reason left I 
will use it to tell my story to the end. Pity 
me, pity me ! 

Yes, it is true that I live. Feeble as I 
am, I still draw breath. The door is locked, 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 3 

but I can see tlirougli the window. There 
are trees with waving branches upon the land. 
Birds flutter through them. The blue clouds 
sail on. I am warm. It is summertime. 
Summertime ! Alas ! 

It is true I had a child, a baby girl, with 
breath like the perfume of violets, shaming 
mine. I held her in my arms ; I kissed her 
sweet mouth. She is gone ; she is lost. 
Dead, dead! 

So they told me. I do not remember 
when, but they told me. I am ready to 
swear it. 0, my baby, my sweet ! Would 
you have lived if I had been a better mother 
to you ? Is it I who worshipped you — is it I 
who killed you ? They did not say so ! 
" Murderess ! " Other things as horrible have 
been whispered to me, as horrible and as 
false as this. It is done to madden me. I 
have heard it said that I am mad. But do 
mad people do what I am going to do now ? 

There was bread in the room. I broke 
some into crumbs and put them out on the 
window-sill. There were iron bars to the 

16 



4 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

windows, through wliich I could thrust my 
hand. 

The birds came and flew away with the 
crumbs, and I did not stand far from them. 
Would they have done that if I had been 
mad ? 

And yet what I have heard them say is 
true, but not always true — not true at this 
moment ; only they doubt whether I am ever 
sane. 

This is not a prison ; it is a private asylum 
for those who give way to their horrible 
craving for drink. 

" Do you wish to get well ? " It was a 
doctor, not the nurse who attended me in Paris, 
who asked the question. " Do you wish to 
live ? " 

"Yes," I answered. 

" Sign this paper," he said, " and there is 
hope for yon. Eefuse, and you are lost." 

" Why should I sign a paper ? " I said. 
" You have done what you liked with me ; 
you are doing what you like with me." 

" What is being done," he said, " is for 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 



your good. There are times when you are 
not accountable for your actions. You are 
an English subject, and you cannot be taken 
where you can be cured without your written 



consent." 



" When I am well," I said, " shall I be set 
free ? " 

"You will," he replied. "For your own 
sake, for your child's sake, sign." 

I put my name to the paper, which the 
doctor read first ; but I did not hear what he 
said. My only thought was that I must try 
to get well for the sake of my child. 

There is a noise in the passage without. 
Some one is coming in. I must hide this 
paper, and play the hypocrite. 

The door is unlocked, and the master of 
the house enters. I do not know his name, 
and I have seen him only twice before. He 
reminded me then of a fox, and he reminds 
me of one now. He has a long, thin, pointed 
face, with cunning eyes, which say, " Do not 
trust me, do not trust me." He does not 
think that his eyes betray him. 



6 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

I am on my guard. On the two previous 
occasions on which I saw him I was ill, and 
we held no conversation. He spoke only to a 
woman who attends to me, whom I address, 
as she bade me, as Gabrielle. She is quite a 
different person from the nurse who looked 
after me in Paris, and looks as if her life had 
been a life of trouble. I have asked her 
questions about myself, which she has evaded 
answering, not from unkindness, but from 
fear of the master. 

" Pray do not press me," she said. " The 
master will come and see you one da}^, and 
then you can speak to him. But be careful 
what you say ; he is very clever. 

By clever she meant cunning, so when he 
enters my room now I set myself a task, to 
be as cunning as he is. There are a good 
many things I want to know about, and I do 
not see how I can cet the information from 
any one but the master. 

Gabrielle follows him into the room, and 
stands submissively at the door. The master 
holds out his hand, I place mine in it. He 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 7 

presses my fingers caressingly, insinuatingly, 
as though he would read ni}- thoughts through 
them.' 

" You are better to-day," he says. 

" I am well," I reply. 

" No, no," he says, in gentle correction, 
" better, but not well." 

" You know best," I say. 

" Yes," he says, " I know best. Gabrielle 
says you wish to speak to me." 

" I asked her to tell you so." 

" I am here, you see," he says, almost 
gaily, " at your request. You are calm ? " 

"Quite calm." 

*' What we have to guard against," he says, 
his fox-like eyes fixed on my face, " is dis- 
simulation, deceit, artfulness to gain the end 
a patient has in view. The practice of these 
deceptions is always followed by punishment. 
Is it not, Gabrielle ? " 

" Always, master," she answers. 

" I am not clever enough to deceive you," 
I say, " and if I were there is nothing to be 
gained by it." 



8 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" That is well said." 

He motions to Gabrielle to leave the room, 
and the master and I are alone. 

" You wish to speak to me," he says ; " I 
also wish to speak to }'ou. You wish to 
know somethinir. Let me see if I can 
answer." 

" How long ago is it since I was brought 
here ? " I ask. 

" Eight months," he answers. 

" Is it possible ? " 

" It is better than possible ; it is true. 
The date of the entrance of every patient in 
this house is recorded in the books." 

" I signed a paper, did I not ? " 

" You did. Without 3'our signature you 
could not have been admitted.' 

" Entering of my own free will, can I leave 
of my own free will ? " 

" It will be prudent," he says, " not to 
immediately answer the question." 

" You may answer it at another time ? " 

" Perhaps at another time." 

" You perceive that I am rational." 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 9 

" Appearances are not to be trusted." 

Desirous to avoid the least symptom of 
contention I pass from the subject. 

" I had a child," I say, my voice trembling, 
my heart throbbing. 

" I was so informed. You have lost her ? " 

There was no compassion in his voice ; it 
was as cold as steel. 

" It is really true ? " I a.sk, with difficulty 
controlling ni}- voice. 

" It is really true." 

I do not speak for several minutes. I 
expected this confirmation, but could not bear 
it without deep suffering. 

Having borne this ordeal, I could bear 
others. 

" What nialadv was I suffering- from when 
I was broua'ht to this house ? " 

" It is expressed in the document you 
signed." 

" But let me hear my shame ! " I plead. 

" As you will," says the master. " You had 
a craving for strong drink which was driving 
you mad. You came here to be cured." 



10 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Am I cured ? " 

" I cannot say." 

" Surely you are wise enough and clever 
enough to tell me ! I implore you ! " 

" I will tell you to-morrow." 

With this assurance I am forced to be 
content. To-morrow ! It is only a few 
hours. And now for information upon a 
matter which has agitated my mind. 

" This is a private establishment ? " I ask. I 
know that it is so because Madame Gabrielle 
has told me, but the reason why I ask the 
master is that it leads naturally to what I 
wish to learn. 

" It is." 

" Kept up at your own expense ? " 

" Assuredly." 

*' You are a philanthropist ? " 

" Oh, no ; I am a business man." 

" But a philanthropist as well." He looks 
at me, and shrugs his shoulders. " It costs 
money being kept here ? " 

" Yes, it costs money." 

" Who pays for me ? " 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 11 

"Ah," he says, repeating my question, 
" who pays for you ? " 

" -Will you not tell me ? " 

" There are confidences," he replies. " Be 
content that you have friends." 

" Friends ? " 

" One, at least." 

A fjlance at his face assures me that it will 
be useless to press the inquiry, but with 
CliiTord in my mind I venture to ask : 

" Is he a gentleman ? " 

" Oh, yes, undoubtedly a gentleman, having 
money." 

That is the test, in his view, and he states 
it with an indisputable air. 

"Has he been to see me ? " I ask. 

" He has not." 

" Where is he now ? " 

"I do not know." 

" But he pays regularly, does he not, or 
you could not afford to keep me." 

" He pays," says the master, " through a 
third party." 

Then he puts an end to my questions by 



12 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

saying, "I have been very indulgent. Ask 
nothing more to-day, but answer me." 

He interrogates me as to who I am, 
whether I have parents, or brothers, or 
sisters living. Evidently he is curious about 
my history, and knows very little concerning 
it. I answer him truthfully up to a certain 
point, but I give him no clue of the one 
friend I have in America, and when he leaves 
me I see that he is dissatisfied, and that he 
believes I have been telling him untruths. 

This that I have written must go to the 
post. Only Madame Gabriel can do it for 
me. It is strange that I have contrived 
through all my troubles and illness, to 
keep by me one five pound note, which 
I sewed in my dress when I was in 
Paris. Before Gabriel enters the room, after 
the departure of the master, I have picked 
the threads and extracted my treasure, but 
when she comes in I do not know how to 
commence. She assists me, however, by 
asking^ if the master had been kind to me, 
and I tell her what passed between us ; and 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 13 

then I confess to her that I said nothing to 
him of the friend 1 have in a distant land. 

". I have written to her," I say, " and there 
is no one but you who would post my letter 
to her." 

She looks alarmed, but I appeal to her so 
successfully that she promises to do what I 
ask. I give her the five pound note, and she 
is to bring me the change for it, and some 
postage stamps. It is while she is gone that I 
am addini,^ these lines. 

If I am cured I shall surely be allowed 
to leave this place. The master will tell me 
to-morrow. But why could he not tell me 
to-day ? Being well, they can have no 
excuse to detain me here. I will go and 
seek Clifford, but first I must see my child's 
grave. 

Where have they buried her ? I have seen 
pictures of spots where I should like her 
sweet body to rest, where I would like to rest 
myself. As I write, I can feel the tender 
clasp of her baby fingers, I can see her lovely 
eves and face 



14 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Husli, Adeline — be calm, do not give way. 
So much depends upon it. Your life, your 
liberty, your future. To be confined within 
these walls for ever would truly drive me 
mad. "A craving for strong drink which 
was drivinf]' you mad." The master's words. 
It was Clifford who led me to it. Upon his 
soul, as well as upon mine, lie the sin and 
the shame. 

What is the meaning of the sudden thirst 

that steals upon me, that parches my throat, 

that causes my eyes to wander to every 

corner of the room ? Am I cured ? I shall 

know to-morrow. I am trembling in every 

limb. Gabrielle's step without. I must hide 

my writing — no, I am forgetting. She is to 

post it for me. 

* * « * * 

To-morrow has come and gone, and I know 
whether I am cured. 

I had fallen asleep in my chair, and when 
I awoke no one was with me. There was a 
dim light burning, depending from the centre 
of the ceiling, where I could not reach it. 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 15 



The parching of my throat continued, and I 
went to the table to get some drink. There 
was .a wooden cup there, an earthen water 
bottle, and another bottle. I took out the 
cork, and smelt it. I held the bottle in my 
shuddering hands, put it down — carefully, so 
that it should not be broken — and tottered 
back to my chair. 

I can recall every thought, every little 
incident of those few conscious minutes. I 
covered my eyes with my hands, and 
struggled with the temptation. But my 
throat was burning, and a devil was whisper- 
ing in my ear. " Don't be a fool," it said. 
"Open your eyes and look round the room. 
It resembles a tomb. Bring light and glad- 
ness into it, and to your heart as well. It is 
so simple ! Just one Uttle drop ! Take it as 
a medicine — you need it. Why spend the 
night in wretchedness? Just one Uttle 
drop ! " 

As a medicine, yes — and I do need it, 
sorely, soreh'. Just one little drop — no 
more ; and I would put water to it. Why, 



16 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

a doctor would give it to me ! Where, then, 
was the harm of helping myself ? 

I rose, and stood by the table, the wooden 
cup in my hand. I poured some brandy 
into it, and added water ; then, without 
pausing to think, drank it off. 

In a moment everything was changed. 
Gloom fled from the room, from my heart. 
I lauGj'hed aloud. But I had taken so little ! 
If those few drops had effected such a trans- 
formation, had made me strong and happy, 
and bright, how much would a little more 
do? 

The second time I drank it without water, 
and then in wild and joyous excitement, I 
drank again and again, till not a drop was 
left. The bottle dropped from my hand, and 
rolled upon the floor. I tried to catch it, 
and in the attempt fell, and could not rise. 
***** 

Four days ago I made up my mind to 
escape, but I could not have succeeded 
without the assistance of Gabrielle. She 
heard my story ; she told me hers. It is the 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 17 

old story of betra3'al and desertion. She 
was going to leave her service in a month she 
said, and she would risk being turned away 
before. I recompensed her by giving her 
twenty francs. I have very little money left 
now. 

I could obtain no satisfaction from the 
master. I told him that I did not intend to 
stay any longer in his house, and he said he 
would think about it. Had my door been 
left open I should have walked out at once, 
but he kept it always locked, and he took 
care to have every movement I made 
watched. The bond of sympathy estabhshed 
between me and Gabrielle caused me to oi^en 
my heart freely to her. 

" Can he confine me here all my life ? " I 
asked. 

" I should say not," replied Gabrielle. " You 
are an English subject." 

I thanked her for the hint, and two or 
three days afterwards I asked the master 
whether he had thought about my intention 
to leave his house. 

VOL. II. 17 



18 THE MAIICH OF FATE. 

" I have written about it," hie answered. 

" To whom ? " I inquired. 

" To the party who is responsible," he 
said. 

" I am the only party responsible for my 
confinement in this prison," I said. 

He interrupted me, saying it was not a 
prison. 

"That is what I understood," I said. "I 
have done no wrong to anyone but myself, 
have committed no crime for which I am 
liable to the law. Give me the name of the 
responsible party, as you call him." 

"That," said the master, " I decline to do." 

"I will give it to you," I said. " His name 
is Clifford." 

Fox as he was, I saw in his eyes that I was 
right, and I saw, also, that he was uneasy at 
the bold attitude I was taking. This made 
me bolder still. 

" If he has authority over me," I continued, 
" he must be my husband. Has he informed 
you that he is ? " 

'* I have asked him no questions," he said. 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 19 



(( 



Say that he is my husband," I pursued. 
"I am an English subject, and he cannot 
confme me here against "my wilh I revoke 
the document I signed, which I mistakenly 
signed. If you keep me imprisoned in your 
house, which you have tokl me is a private 
estabUshment, it is unkiwful, and you can be 
punished for it." 

" You can speak very freely," he said, 
" when you are in possession of your senses, 
but when you are not " 

" Even then," I said, " I am my o^^■n mis- 
tress, and not your prisoner. Am I free to 
go now ? " 

"I am afraid," he said, "that you must 
wait till I receive instructions." 

" I will wait," I said, " but not for long." 

A week passed, and stiU he paltered with 
me. Then I resolved to escape. 

It was done in the night. I tore the sheets 
from my bed into strips, and tying them 
together, with Gabrielle's help, fastened them 
to the window sill. But I did not dare to 
descend to the ground by that means ; I 

17* 



20 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

wished them to beheve that I had escaped by 
the window. I went out through the door 
of my room and the street door, which 
Gabrielle unlocked and locked, and I stood, a 
free woman in an unknown land, surrounded 
by darkness. 

I had received instructions from Gabrielle 
which I endeavoured to follow. Her sister 
lived a dozen miles away, and Gabrielle 
gave me a letter to her which would ensure 
for me food and shelter as long as I was 
able to pay for them. I was to follow the 
high road till it branched out left and right, 
and my directions from that point were 
sufficiently clear to lead me to the cottage. 
But in the dark I was too frightened to pro- 
ceed, so I walked only a hundred yards or 
so, and waited for the sun. It was weary 
work, and I was not as strom? as I thouo;ht. 
I had no alternative, however. 

In the matter of money I had deceived 
Gabrielle, as I am deceiving everybody. My 
life, indeed, is now nothing but deceit. I 
told Gabrielle that when I was free I should 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 21 

be able easily to obtain what money I re- 
quired, and the simple soul believed me. 
Perhaps that Avas the reason why she elected 
to be my friend. I cannot say. There is 
only one being in the world who is absolutely 
truthful and good — the lady I once called 
mother. 

The first tinge of daylight showed me the 
road, and I proceeded as quickly as my 
numbed limbs would allow. I was fearful of 
being pursued and caught, but I had resolved 
to fight for my freedom with all my strength. 
Nothino- of the sort occurred. So far as I 
knew I was not followed, nor was I molested 
by any of the workpeople I met, though 
many gazed in curiosity after me. My feet 
were tender and my frame weak, and when 
the full sun rose I was abeady exhausted. I 
stopped at an inn and had something to eat 
and drink, a dish of eggs and brown bread, 
and two glasses of a kind of cherry brandy. 
I would have drunk more, but I had strength 
this time to resist the craving. Helpless, 
I might fall into the toils again. I knew 



22 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 



it to be imperative that I should preserv^e 
my senses— that was my only reason for 



resisting. 



Slowly I went on, and at nightfall was 
some distance from the cottacre. At another 
cottage I succeeded in obtaining shelter ; they 
had no bed to offer me, but they spread straw 
upon the earth which formed the flooring of 
their home, and there I lay till morning, 
paying them a trifle for the accommodation. 
At noon of the second day I reached the 
cottage where Gabrielle's sister lives. I pre- 
sented Gabrielle's letter, and was warmly 
welcomed. 

"You can have Gabrielle's little room," 
the woman said, " till she comes. She says 
she is coming soon. By that time you will 
want to go away." 

I made a bargain with her for food and 
lodgment ; so small was the sum she asked 
that I was able to pay her four weeks in 
advance, and still have a little money left. 
I would not rob the poor woman, though 
she would have trusted me. When the 



THE DIAKY CONTINUED, 23 

time came for payment my purse might be 
empty, so I secured her and myself for a 
month. 

She' took me to Gabrielle's room, and I 
helped her to set it straight ; then I lay down 
on the straw mattress to rest. I slept, and in 
my sleep, as it seemed to me, I heard the 
voice of a Avoman speaking and singing to 
her babe. It is a sound there is no mistaking. 
The tears ran down my face ; I put my hands 
to my eyes ; my lingers were wet. I was 
awake, then : it was no dream, for I still 
heard the singing. I crept downstairs, and 
there was a baby in the woman's lap. I held 
out my trembling arms, and the mother 
smiled, and allowed me to take the child. 
She told me when her little girl was born. I 
do not know the date of the birth of my own 
darling, but it must have been at about the 
same time. Deep Avas my emotion as I 
nursed this little stranger, rocking to and fro, 
and trying to sing throusfh my tears and 
anguish. The smilnii]'- face of the woman 
underwent a change ; she regarded me 



24 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

seriously. Putting her hand on my arm, she 
said : 

" You have been a mother ? " 

" A most unhappy mother," I said. 

'* And your child ? " 

I looked down upon the earth ; then 
upward through the open cottage window. 

" Poor child, poor child ! " the woman 
murmured. 

This note of sympathy was like the opening 
of heaven's gate to me. I had fallen very, 
very low ; I was dishonoured, disgraced ; and 
when the bitter truth was revealed to me, I 
had courted a deeper degradation, seeking 
only a selfish oblivion of my first disgrace. I 
was young ; in the course of nature, if I 
preserved my health, if I did not ruin my 
constitution by degrading habits, there might 
be a long life before me. For the first time 
since the day on which Clifford had made his 
shameful, his infamous confession, I was 
inspired by a sentiment higher than mere 
selfishness and despair. I would try to be 
good ; yes, I would strive to overcome the 



Tllb: UlAKY CONTINUED. 25 

fatal infatuation which wa.s destroying me, 

body and >ouL It seemed to me as if the 

babe, in my arms was a shield protecting me 

from all evil, enabling me to defy the 

demoniac temptation so often whispered in 

my ear. This helpless babe was all powerful 

in its holy influence. I would cling to it, 

and it should save me from the pit. I begged 

to be allowed to nurse the child when it did 

not need its mother, and the woman said, 

certainly, she would be glad, it would be a 

help to her. I thanked her, and that was the 

first night for many, man}- months on which 

I can say I was happy. 

Two da3's have passed since then, and I feel 

that I am among friends. The husband is a 

labourer in the fields ; he goes out early and 

conies home late ; and the wife has to work 

hard too. They do not grumble at the toil ; 

they have just enough, no more, and they 

have been married only two years. It is yet 

the summer of love. 

***** 

AYhoever says there is hope for those who 



20 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

have fallen, lies ! Whoever preaches salvation 
for lost souls, lies ! The happy hours were 
few. Night has come again. 

It was a fete day. In great cities people 
go into the country for their holiday. They 
work in close streets and houses ; fields 
and hedgerows are a paradise for them. But 
here on fete days they go to the wine- 
shops. What attraction can the fields they 
labour in from sunrise till sundown have for 
the toilers ? None. Their paradise is the 
wine-shop. 

So we all went: Gabrielle's sister, her 
husband and little Julie, their child. 

There was a fair close by with more wine- 
shops, and there we went later in the day. 
People were drinking all around me, and I 
touched nothing but water. It sickened me ; 
it made me faint ; but still I resisted, growing 
weaker and weaker, while the craving grew 
stronger and stronger. The faces of my 
friends were flushed, even the mother's face 
as she tossed her baby in the air. In fear 
lest the little one should fall and be injured, I 



THE DlAliV CONTINUED. 27 

took it from the mother's arms. She laughed, 
and said : 

" Yes, you are right. J kit it is only for 
to-day. To-morrow ^ye shall be ourselves 
again. Don't be afraid. This is not the 
first time, and I hope it will not be the last." 

These words had a singular effect upon me. 
" It is not the first time, and I hope it will 
not be the last." She had no fear of herself, 
for she said, " Don't Ije afraid;" and, " To- 
morrow we shall be ourselves again." 

If they had such confidence in themselves, 
wli}' not I ? Surely I was as strong as they ? 
*' You are, you are," whispered the fiend. 
*' Do not be shamed by them. You are town 
bred, educated, a lady ; they are country 
clowns. See how merry they are. Follow 
their example and be happy." 

I pressed my fingers to my ears ; I talked 
louldly to little Julie, to drown the voice of 
the tempter ; but it was like dust ; it would 
not be denied. It whispered and whispered, 
drawing me on, maddening me. And still I 
resisted. 



28 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

We entered a booth, but I did not see the 
entertamment. I wanted neither to see nor to 
hear ; all I wanted was little Julie, my shield, 
close, close to my breast. The show was 
over ; we trooped out. 

" Come, Madame Straitlace," said little 
Julie's father, " it is your turn to treat now. 
Look at my pockets." 

He turned them inside out ; they were 
empty, 

" Yes, it is your turn, your turn," laughed 
his wife. 

I offered him a few small pieces of money, 
but he cried : 

" No, no, I am not a beggar. We haven't 
come to that yet, wife ? " 

"No, indeed," said she. 

" Show your friendliness," said the man, 
" and drink with us. It is the only way." 

In jovial mood they dragged me to the 
wine-shop. Had the fiend whispered to me 
at that moment I should not have fallen 
again, but the voice was silent, the tempter 
being as conscious as I was myself of the 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 29 

struggle going on within me. In desperation 
I threw money on the counter, and taking 
the -glass Julie's father held towards me, 
drained it in a moment. 

" That's well done," said Julie's father, 
" as well as I could have done it myself. 
Your eyes are dancing in your head. It is as 
it should be. This is not the time for long 
faces. Here." 

Another glass was held out to me, which I 
drained like the first. The lights, the people 
resembled fire-fiies, flitting all ways at once. 

" Where is my little Julie ? " cried the man. 
*' Give me my little Julie." 

He tried to take the child from my arms, 
but I held it ti^^ht. We had a strucf<2fle, on 
his side in fun and merriment, on mine more 
seriously, and he obtained possession of Julie. 
Thank God for that ! She was not in my 
arms durinsf what followed. 

Can I describe it ? Suddenly, without 
warniuii, the air was filled with cries of terror. 
Some light material with which the wine shop 
was decorated took fire, and in a moment the 



30 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

place was in a blaze. The shrieking of 
women, the fighting for the doors, the beating 
down of the weak, the frenzied appeals and 
imprecations, were horrible. They ring in my 
ears now, those death shrieks ; I see women 
in flames struggling and leaping. These live 
in my imagination ; the reality was even more 
terrible.  

The wine shop was burned to the ground, 
and some booths adjoining. The dead were 
carried out, and laid on the ground, their 
forms illumined by torches which men 
were holding. Among the dead were little 
Julie and her mother. 

I fled. The forest was four miles from the 
spot, but I felt no fatigue till I reached it. 
There I sank upon the fallen leaves, and 
writhed in anguish. What hope was there 
in the world for me now ? How I passed 
the night I know not. The sun rose upon a 
soul for ever lost. I cannot continue. . . 
***** 

Once before, when I was wanderincf in 
darkness, did Mary Sternhold come to me. 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 31 

I did not know then that it was she who 
called me sister, and would have wooed me 
to se«k death in the quiet waters of the river. 
I know it now. 

As on that occasion, there are shadows 
around and about me, dark shadows of des- 
pair, seeking rest. Will they ever find it ? 
How long have they been wandering in their 
hopeless search ? I ask the questions aloud ? 
I am answered. 

" They are not the same. Every day the 
sun sinks upon new recruits. The ranks are 
quickly filled." 

" Who are vou ? " 

" Mary Sternhold. I came once before." 

" I remember." 

" It was before your baby was born." 

" Alas, yes ! " 

" Before your baby died." 

" Do not torture me." 

" I am here to bless, not to torture. I am 
here to give you peace." 

" Have you found it yourself .^ " 

" I have, and I brinc^ it to others who fear 



32 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

the ordeal. Since I last spoke to you has 
happiness been your portion ? " 

" Black misery has been my portion." 

" Why, then, do you tarry ? The sweet- 
ness of the world is not for such as you. It 
is folly to continue to suffer, when you have 
the remedy in your hands. Your youth is 
blio'hted ; you will be old soon — lonj? before 
vour time — and you will si<T;h in yain for the 
blessing that now may be yours. You have 
sinned unconsciously. Beware lest you sin 
consciously. Look at me." 

A star fell, and in the swift transient "deam 
I saw the form of Mary Sternhold. It was 
clad in white. Peace shone upon her brow. 

"Look upon yourself." 

Again a star fell, and I saw my form for 
one brief moment, a form to shudder at, to 
fly from. Torn garments ; a haggard, face ; 
dishevelled hair ; eyes of wild despair. 

" As you are, so should I have been, and 
worse, if I had cared to live. As you are, so 
should I have been, and worse, if I had 
refused the blessing I offer to you. Shall I 



THE DIARY CONTINUED. 33 

show you what you will become if you are 
still obdurate ? " 

" No, no ! I never heard of your end, 
Mary." 

" Nor any one else. I took care of that. 
Only God saw." 

" And was not angry ? " 

" You have seen me ; you have seen 
yourself. Be persuaded." 

" I am a coward. I not dare." 

" Faint heart ! There is one vou do not 
think of." 

"Who?" 

"Your baby. She is waiting for you. She 
will open her little arms for your embrace. 
She will hold up her sweet face for your kiss. 
You can meet her now, but not in the time to 
come. Low as you have sunk, the worst has 
not befallen ; you may not escape from it if 
you live." 

I held my breath. The river was singing 
its luUaby of peace, of love, of release from 
wretchedness and despair. Led by the spirit 
of Mary Sternhold I walked slowly on. The 

VOL. II. IS 



34 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

brandies were bending, there was a soft 
rustle of leaves, the air was charged with 
sobs. 

" You are sure God will not be angry ? " 

" He will be pleased with you." 

" And my baby will welcome me ? " 

" With j^ladness," 

The water was before me. I raised my 
eyes to Heaven. Of that sad night I re- 
member nothing more. 

*^ ^ 4t ^ 

r^ ^V ^fS ^gi 






'^-\fK,^l1 



CHAPTER XVIII 

FURTHER LINKS. 

" Tins," said Mr. Barlow, " is the last com- 
munication — the scraps cannot be called 
letters — Mrs. Kennedy received in the hand- 
writing of Adeline Diicroz. Whether they 
were all that were written is hardly likely, 
considering the circumstances and the many 
years that have passed, to be ever known. 
My own opinion is that many must have 
miscarried — for this reason : nearly all that 
I have read was written at lucid intervals. 
There were periods, long or short, when the 
poor girl was not accountable for her actions, 
and during those periods I have no doubt she 
scribbled sometimes in secret, I would ijive 
something out of my own pocket to get hold 
of these portions of her confession which 
never reached their destination." 

" For literary purposes ? " I asked, and 

18* 



36 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

as I put the question a suspicion crossed my 
mind. 

" Yes," said Mr. Barlow, complacently, 
" for literary purposes." 

" Look here, Barlow," I said, giving utter- 
ance to my suspicion, " these papers are 
genuine, I suppose ? " 

" What do you think ? " asked Mr. Barlow 
in return, with an amused expression on his 
shrewd face. 

" They are so extraordinary and unusual," 
I stammered 

"Go on, Millington," said Mr. Barlow. 
" What are you stopping for ? Say what is in 
your mind. They are so extraordinary and 
unusual," 

" And in some parts," I continued, rather 
embarrassed, " although I am not much of a 
judge, so poetical " 

"Go on, Millington, go on," said Mr. 
Barlow, encouragingly, " and in some parts 
so poetical " 

" That I shouldn't be surprised to hear that 
you had made them up yourself." 



FURTHER LINKS. 37 

" Much oblit^ed to you for the compU- 
ment," said Mr. liarlow, " but your opinion 
of iny powers is too high ; it really is, 
Millington. If I were equal to such flights 
of the imagination I would throw up business 
to-morrow, and start my literar}- career at 
once. The papers are genuine — one of the 
strangest chapters in real life I ever met with. 
What you say about their being poetical here 
and there is true ; I was struck with it myself. 
It only shows what may be hidden in a person 
which, but for some crisis, miofht never come 
out. They say poets are mad ; here is a 
proof of it. Xow let us carry the story on." 

He tied the papers carefully together, 
having previously re-arranged them, put them 
aside and resumed : 

" The receipt of these communications occa- 
sioned Mrs. Kennedy the greatest anxiety, but 
she had other anxieties of a strictly personal 
nature which prevented her from moving in 
the matter, even if she had possessed the 
means to do so, which she had not. At 
about that time her husband met with an 



38 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

accident which crippled him for life. She 
had not only to nurse him, but to attend to 
his business affairs, which otherwise would 
have fallen into ruinous confusion. Occupa- 
tion enou2:h for one woman. Her husband 
became a confirmed invalid, and for many- 
years was confined to the house. Her first 
duty lay in their home, and she performed it 
bravely. The communications she had re- 
ceived from Adeline Ducroz ceased at a 
critical moment in the young girl's life. 
There is no room to doubt that, urged to the 
deed by a disordered imagination and by the 
desperate position to which she was driven, 
she attempted to commit suicide. How she 
was rescued, and what was her subsequent 
fate remained a myster}^ for several years, 
and when Mrs. Kennedy obtained a clue it 
was by one of those singular chances which I 
believe to be sufficiently common, though 
most people regard them as inexplicable and 
extraordinary. Some, indeed, go so far as to 
declare them to be direct acts of Providence, 
which, between you and me, Millington, is 



FURTHER LINKS. 39 

sheer nonsense. Mr. Kennedy became so 
confirmed a hypochondriac that it was neces- 
sary _ he should have some one continually 
with him. ' It is impossible for you to attend 
to him yourself ' said the doctor ; ' you must 
get a trained nurse.' And although Mrs. 
Kennedy was at hrst reluctant to give her 
husband into the care of a stranger she was 
compelled eventually to take the doctor's 
advice. She asked him to obtain a kind and 
experienced person for the duty, and in the 
course of a few days he sent her a French- 
woman who could s])eak English well, and 
whose certificates and letters of recommenda- 
tion were unexceptionable. The engagement 
was made, and, as you will see, led to an im- 
portant result, apart from the service she was 
hired to perform." 

" This woman," I said, " represents the 
singular chance you spoke of ? " 

" She does," replied Mr. Barlow. 

I jumped at a conclusion. " She was the 
woman who acted as nurse to Adeline Ducroz 
in Paris ? " 



40 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" You have guessed it," said Mr. Barlow ; 
"the identical woman. She was with Mrs. 
Kennedy a couple of months before the dis- 
covery was made. Mr. Kennedy's condition 
became so bad that he could not sleep, and 
opiates had to be administered to him. This 
sometimes sets the nurse free of an evening, 
at which times she and Mrs. Kennedy would 
keep each other company. Her name was 
Madame Pau. One night, when Mr. Kennedy 
was asleep, Madame Pau commenced to relate 
some of her professional experiences in Paris 
and elsewhere, mentionino; no names. She 
had nursed all kinds of patients, and her 
anecdotal reminiscences were drawn princi- 
pally from the humourous side of her occupa- 
tion. Suddenl}^ an idea occurred to Mrs. 
Kennedy. ' Were you in Paris in 1867 ? ' she 
asked. 'And in 1868 as well, Madame,' 
replied Madame Pau. ' Following your 
occupation ? ' ' Yes, Madame.' ' At an in- 
stitution ? ' ' No, Madame. I nursed patients 
at their private residences.' ' Is it possible,' 
thought Mrs. Kennedy, ' that this can be the 



FURTHER LINKS. 41 

woman who nursed Adeline ? ' She asked 
the question boklly, and according to her 
account, the woman at first rather hesitated 
to reply. This hesitation strengthened Mrs. 
Kennedy's idea. She represented to the 
woman that she was deeply interested in the 
young lady to whom she referred, and after a 
little persuasion and the promise of a bribe, 
Madame Pan spoke freely. She had nursed 
Adeline Decroz, and she knew more than Mrs. 
Kennedy suspected. What she subsequently 
revealed is set down in narrative form by 
Madame Pan, in French, and afterwards 
translated by Mrs. Kennedy. Here is the 
translation, in Mrs. Kennedy's writing. You 
will find it interesting. It opens up a new 
field of speculation, and throws a light upon 
Mr. Julius Clifford's character." 

Selecting a paper from the documents near 
him Mr. Barlow proceeded to read : 



42 THE MAECH OF FATE. 



The statement of Madame Pau, late oj- Paris, 
now of the United States of America, relating 
to the case of Madame Adeline Ducroz : 

I am not good at dates. Years I remember, 
but not months, or weeks, or days. It was 
in the year 1867 that I was engaged to nurse 
an Enghsh lady in Paris, Madame Adeline 
Ducroz, who was afflicted with the vice of 
many English ladies, a passion for drinking 
too much. Not wine. Spirits. I have 
nursed other patients, suffering from the same 
malady, and all of them, I am delighted to 
say, foreigners. 

Madame Ducroz expected to become a 
mother, which was bad for her and for the 
unborn child. 

I am not good at names, as well as dates ; 
I have ]iad to do with so many. But I re- 
member, in Paris, two names in this case. 
One is the name of the patient, Madame 
Ducroz, the other is the name of her gentle- 
man friend, M. Julius Clifford. He was a 



FURTHER LINKS, 43 

compatriot of the lady, like her an English 
subject. 

• Sh,e was an encumbrance to him. He told 
me she followed him about, and would not 
leave him. He was the victim, not she. But 
he wished to be kind to her — 0, yes, he 
wished her to be happy. Not with him, with 
some one else. 

" She is unreasonable," he said to me. 
" She is violent. She lies when she speaks. 
She is under the delusion that I promised to 
marry her. It is too ridiculous. I am a 
gentleman, and she has only herself to 
blame." 

I asked no questions. It was not for me to 
do so. It was for me to perform the duties 
for which I was engaged. I performed them 
faithfull}', and carried out my instructions. 

For instance : 

" She can have whatever she asks for. She 
loves to drink. Indulc^e her. Here is 
money ! " 

He was generous, M. Clifford, and rich. I 
performed my duties, but it did not belong to 



44 THE MAECH Of FATE. 

them to make her mad. She implored for 
drink. I would not give it to her, only a 
little by the doctor's instructions. It was the 
doctor's instructions I carried out. I forget 
the doctor's name. 

It is not for me to declare whether the 
gentleman spoke true or false in what he told 
me about his lady. I have my ideas, that 
is all. 

No, I would not give her brandy. She 
produced money, and said : 

''Madame Pau, Madame Pau, I am perish- 
ing, I am dying ! Bring me one little 
bottle ! " 

1 refused. I would not. 

But there were others about her who did 
what I refused to do. Patients suffering from 
Madame Pan's malady are very cunning. She 
bribed servants to get her what she wanted, 
and I found the empty bottles about the 
room. She drank herself delirious. It was 
deplorable to see her. It made me weep. 

I spoke to her like a mother ; I advised 
her for her good ; she made promises ; she 



FURTHER LINKS. 45 

did not keep them. It is a mania ; the}' have 
not the strengtii to resist. 

I informed M. CUffbrd. He said : 

" What can I do ? She is not to be de- 
pended upon for one moment, not for one 
single moment. She deceives you as she 
deceived me. She is headstrong, she is un- 
governable. It sliall not be said I am not 
kind to her. Let her have all she wants." 

I suo-sested that he should see and remon- 
strate with her. He would not. He had 
done with her, he said. So much money he 
would spend upon her ; then he would shake 
himself free. 

He did not remain in Paris all the time. 
He went to Eng^land. And came back a^ain. 
This happened three, four times. Once he 
said to me, with an air of gloom. 

" All this trouble would be over if she were 
not to recover." 

The sentiment was disasfreeable to me : I 
expressed myself. He replied, 

" Can I help it if she is well or ill ? It is 
in her own hands." 



46 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

A child was born, a beautiful little girl. 
Madame Ducroz wept over her, caressed her, 
adored her. Sometimes she said, 

" She is my guardian angel ! " Sometimes, 
" She is my curse ! " 

All this time we did not know whether 
she would get well or die. She had great 
strength, or she could not have lasted so lono-. 
To-day the doctor said one thing, to-morrow 
he said another. The child, too. Now she 
was well, now she was ill. M. Clifford made 
inquiries about her. 

" She is beautiful," I said. " She is ad- 
orable. Will you not come and see her ? " 

No, he would not, nor would he permit me 
to bring the infant to him. It came into my 
mind, " Has M. Chfford a heart ? " 

The child sickened ; there was danger. 
Madame Ducroz was alarmed. She allowed 
herself to be persuaded. For the child's 
sake she would place herself in the care of a 
skilful man who kept an establishment for the 
cure of such as she. She signed a paper and 
was taken away. 



FURTHER LINKS. 47 

M. ClifTord paid all the charges. If he did 
not have a lieart, he had a purse. He dis- 
missed me, ami paid me liberally. 

" Have I not done everj'thing in my 
power ? " he asked. 

" Everything, monsieur," I said. 

" Could any gentleman have done more ? " 
he asked. 

" No, monsieur, no," I said. 

*' Speak always well of me," he said. 

But I speak as I feel. From a little child 
I spoke always the truth. It is not always 
wise, I know it, but when one has a con- 
science one does not stop to consider. 

It is your wish that I should say something 
of Madame Ducroz' nature. There was good 
in it, much good, but she had no control. 
She was affectionate, she was passionate. She 
spoke softly, she spoke loudly. She could 
caress, she could scratch. Am I condemning 
her ? No, a thousand times no. Women 
are not little kittens. They have reason, 
they have sensibility, they have feelings. 
Do all gentlemen think so? No. They 



48 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

do US not justice ; but they are stronger 
than we. 

M. CHfford told me one story ; Madame 
Ducroz told me another. Which was I to 
believe ? Or, was it necessary for me to 
believe one or the other ? I was not their 
judge ; I was a nurse engaged for certain 
duties ; but both showed anxiety that I 
should pronounce judgment. It was not for 
me, no, it was not for me. To myself I said, 
" It is not a new story. It will end like the 
others. M. Clifford will go back to society, 
Madame Ducroz will go back to society. 
They wiU meet and shrug their shoulders, or 
laugh in each other's face. There is a song ; 
' "We loved, we parted. You were all to me, 
you are nothing to me.' " We Frenchwomen 
have sentiment, but some of us learn to know 
the world. It is seldom that Englishwomen 
do. 

The judgment I formed of the end of the 
story was wrong. It was, after all, different 
from the others. 

Madame Ducroz had feelings. They were 



FURTHER LINKS. 49 

outraged. She said to M. Clifford, before I 
was engaged to attend her, that she would be 
reveyged, that she would revenge herself. 
She repeated this in her delirium. That was 
his f6ar. M. Clifford was very proud, and he 
was a coward. I do not blame him. I do 
not blame her. It is well that some false 
lovers should be made to shake in their shoes, 
should be made to suffer. When a woman 
takes the law in her own hands, it is bad for 
the man. M. Clifford knew this. He had 
read our newspapers, and Madame Ducroz 
not beinfy a little kitten, he was afraid of her. 

I bade M. Clifford adieu, and I saw him no 
more for three years. I will not be exact ; it 
may be more, it ma}^ be less. I have only 
my memory, and it is not always good. But 
three years will do. 

I met him in Paris. lie looked at me, 
colored, and went on. My way was his ; I 
followed him because of that. I could not 
help thinking of Madame Ducroz. 

He turned, fixed his eyes upon me, drew 
himself up proudly. 

VOL. II. 19 



50 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Why do you follow me ? " he asked. 

" Monsieur is mistaken," I said. " It is the 
road I am going." 

He did not believe me. There are gentle- 
men who tell you so without speaking, who 
are suspicious of everything and everybody. 
M. Clifford is one. 

" Say what you have to say," he said, " and 
begone." But though he spoke haughtily he 
took out his purse. He was more eloquent 
and gracious with his money than with his 
tongue. 

" As monsieur permits me to speak," I said, 
" I may be allowed to inquire after the 
welfare of Madame Ducroz." 

" She is dead," he said. 

" Alas ! " I cried. " Poor lady, to die so 
young! " 

" Do not make me a scene in the street," he 
said, and he looked around in fear that any- 
body should hear, and put some money into 
my hand. 

" And the child, monsieur ? " I asked, after 
I had thanked him. "The sweet infant?" 



FURTHER LINKS. 51 

" Is dead," he 'replied. " That is all 3'ou 
want to know ? " 

" It is all, monsieur," I said. 

" Oblige me," he said, " if you meet me 
again, in Paris or elsewhere, by regarding 
me as a stranger. You liave been paid for 
the services you rendered." 

He called a carriage, and drove away. 

"Monsieur Clifford," I thought, as I walked 
on, " is out of his trouble, ^\'hat he wished 
for has happened." 

It nuide me sad, the end of Madame Ducroz 
and her sweet child, both so beautiful and 
unfortunate. 

It was perhaps one year, it was })erliap&- 
two years after this meeting with M. Clifford 
in the streets of Paris that I was engaged as 
nurse in the south of France. It was a hard 
case. For two months I was confined to the 
house, day and night, and when my service 
was terminated I gave myself a holiday before 
returning to Paris. I travelled and enjoyed 
myself, having saved a little mone}*. 

I arrived at a town near the sea. The day 

19* 



62 THE M^RCH OF FATE. 

was Sunday, and all the people were in the 
sunshine, and again in the evening when the 
stars were out. A poor woman, almost in 
rags, passed me, walking unsteadily. I just 
saw her face, and I ran after her in amaze- 
ment. Was it the ghost of Madame Ducroz 
I had seen ? 

I seized her arm; I looked at her more 
closely. She moaned. 

" Let me go. I have done no harm ? " 

I should have doubted my senses if I had 
not heard her voice. Even then I could not 
be sure. Had not M. Clifford told me that 
Madame Ducroz was dead? Wherefore the 
lie if this poor woman writhing in my arms 
was she ? 

Her face was changed, but still beautiful. 
I describe her rags, her condition in one 
word — destitution. But still another word — 
misery. 

" Madame Ducroz ! " I said to her, in a low 
voice. 

She looked at me, trembled, and made no 
resistance. 



FURTHER LINKS. 53 

Again I said, " Madame Ducroz ! " 

All she said was, " It is my name. Be 
satisfied, and let me go. I have done no 
harm ! " 

" Do you not remember me ? " I said. 
" The woman who nursed you in Paris when 
3'our baby was born ? " 

" My baby ! " she moaned. '• I am seeking 
her. Do not detain me. I must find her, I 
must find her. Listen. You will hear her 
callin<]j to me ! " 

I heard no voice. But I saw what filled 
my heart with pity. A poor crazed sister in 
want and misery. I slipped a franc into her 
hand. Her fingers tightened upon it. She 
lauo-lied — the laui>li of one who was not in 
her riii'ht mind. 

Suddenly she cried, " Look behind you ! " 

I loosened my grasp, and looked as she 
bade me. Li mv amazement I thoufi^ht 
a spirit might be standing at my elbow, 
but I was startled by no such vision. Turn- 
ing to Madame Ducroz, I found she had 
vanished. She had tricked me to escape. 



54 THE MARCH OF PATE. 

A shadow could not have <?lided awav more 
noiselessly. 

I sought her till near midnight, but saw 
nothing of her. I asked questions of people 
who could not give me satisfactory answers. 
Had it not been that I held her in ni}' arms 
and my franc was gone, I should have 
believed that I was dreaming. But it was 
not a dream ; I am ready to swear it. I 
never saw Madame Ducroz a^ain, nor have 
I heard anythincp of her. This is a true stale- 
ment. 

(Signed) Mathilde Pau. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE PORTRAIT. 

"Madame Pau," said ]\Ir. Barlow, "took 
genuine pleasure in putting her statement in 
dramatic form, after tlie fashion of lier 
countrywomen. That, however, is not the 
cause of part of her statement being false 
and part of it true. Iler desire was to place 
herself in an entirely favourable light. As to 
her description of her treatment of Adeline 
Ducroz in Paris she has been very careful to 
wash herself white. The truth of those 
wretched weeks is told in the communications 
to Mrs. Kennedy received from Miss Ducroz. 
Mrs Kennedy believes this ; so do I. There 
is a serious discrepancy in the two versions, 
and it is this that leads me to doubt Madame 
Pau's veracity when she speaks of the conver- 
sations between her and Mr. Clifford. Sifting 
the statement carefuUv, I come to these 



66 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

conclusions. Madame Pan being nurse to 
Miss Ducroz : true. Her refusal to obtain 
drink for lier patient : false. Her conversa- 
tions and interviews with Mr. Clifford during 
the time she was nursing Miss Ducroz : highly 
coloured, or entirely false. Her meeting Mr. 
Clifford accidentally in Paris some three years 
afterwards : true. Her meeting Miss Ducroz 
in the South of France a year or two after 
that : true in the main. Her bestowal of 
charity : a fiction. The important feature in 
the statement is the establishment of the fact 
that Miss Ducroz was living some years after 
she ceased corresponding with. Mrs. Kennedy, 
and there appears to be little doubt that she 
was living in misery and destitution. Xow, it 
is m}^ opinion, and Mrs. Kennedy is even 
stronger in this belief than myself, that the 
child — a girl, remember — also lived, and that 
the fiction of its being dead was invented for 
the purpose of putting an end to the trouble 
between Mr. Clifford and the poor lady he 
betrayed. Living, and acknowledged, she 
misfht have been used as a thorn in his side. 



THE PORTKAIT. 67 

Much more convenient to liave her taken 
away and brought up under another name, 
and after a time perhaps lost sight of alto- 
gether. I will finish with Mrs. Kennedy up to 
the period of her departure from the United 
States, The statement made by Madame Pau 
inspired Mrs. Kennedy with such distrust of 
the woman that she was seriously considering 
whether she should dispense with her services 
and obtain another nurse for her husband, 
when an event occurred which saved her the 
trouble of definite action. Mr. Kennedy died, 
and Mrs. Kennedy was alone. Ketlection 
convinced her that it would serve no good 
end to make an enemy of Madame Pau, or to 
challenge her veracity. Far better to part 
friends. If she had concealed or injuriously 
misrepresented anything, the truth, supposing 
it could not be established by other means, 
might, through her cupidity, be extracted 
from her in the future ; for almost immedi- 
ately upon her husband's death IMrs. Kennedy 
had resolved upon a certain course of action. 
She was comparatively a rich woman ; her 



58 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

husband's property had increased greatly in 
value, and advantageous offers were made to 
her for its purchase. There was nothing to 
detain her in America ; the lonely life before 
her was not a tempting prospect ; and what 
she had learned from Madame Pau revived 
her interest in her adopted daughter. She 
burnt with indionation ac^ainst Mr. Clifford, 
and she was impressed with the conviction 
that both Adeline Ducroz and the child were 
still livinof. What more rii^hteous task could 
she set herself than to come back to England, 
after the realization of her property, and 
endeavour to find them? She had no object 
in life ; here was one to her hand ; and if, in 
the carrying of it out she could punish Mr. 
Clifford for the foul wrong he had perpetrated, 
all the greater would be her satisfaction. 
Now you know who my client is." 
" Mrs. Kennedy herself," I said. 
" Exactly. Mrs. Kenned}^ herself." 
" Has she accomplished the first part of 
her task ? Is Miss Ducroz living, and has she 
discovered her ? " 



THE PORTRAIT. 69 

" At the present moment," said Mr. Barlow, 
" I am not not at liberty to answer both of 
your questions. The first I can. Miss 
Ducroz lives." 

'*That will be news for ]\Ir. Ilaldane. I 
suppose I may make use of it." 

" I see no objection. And now, Millington, 
take this into consideration : you have been 
so interested in the unwinding of the story 
that I shouldn't wonder if it has escaped you. 
Miss Ducroz is in the land of the living, and 
also, for a certainty, Mr. Julius Clifford. 
That being the case, are they or are they not 
man and wife according to the law of this 
country ? " 

I gave a long, low whistle, and said, " It 
certainly escaped me." 

" It opens up issues, you see. There may 
be grave consequences hanging to it. I have 
stated my opinion, that Mr, Haldane and Mr. 
Clifford are one and the same person. I want 
this proved, and proved soon." 

" How can it be done ? " 

"It is a simple matter. Eachel Diprose, 



60 IHE MAKCH OF FATE. 

your son's sweetlieart, is Miss Haldane's con- 
fidential maid " 

" Good God ! " I cried, starting up in 
excitement at tlie mention of Miss Haldane's 
name, and at the ihouolit that she would be 
involved in her father's exposure and disgrace. 
That I should be instrumental in bringing 
shame upon one so sweet and charitable pre- 
sented itself to me as indescribabl}^ base and 
treacherous. Then, there was my boy, 
George. His happiness might be wrecked 
through me, for Eachel Diprose would be sure 
to take her young lady's side, and would look 
upon me and all belonging to me with 
abhorrence. 

"Don't lose your head, Millington," said 
Mr. Barlow. " I know what you're thinking 
of, but you're wrong, my lad. Make up your 
mind to more than one thing. First, that this 
affair's got to be carried through. Second, 
that I'd have carried it through to a certainty 
if you hadn't been in it It might have taken 
me a week longer, but that's the extent. Did 
you ever know me beaten yet ? Third, that 



THE PORTRAIT. 61 

being in it, you can act the part of a friend 
to those you care for, and soften the blow 
that's got to fall on tender shoulders. I'm 
talking sense, Millington, my lad. If I hadn't 
taken on mv commission, and vou hadn't 
taken on yours, they'd have drifted into worse 
hands than ours. And we can always throw 
up if we want to ; but it won't be so good 
for the other parties — remember that. Now 
are you steady ? Shall I go on ? '' 

" Yes," I said. 

" Eis.'Iit you are. To commence afjain. 
Rachel Diprose, your son's sweetheart, is Miss 
Haldane's confidential maid. It's ten to one 
she's <]jot an album, and it"::? Ioniser odds that 
there's a portrait of George in it, and two or 
three of herself, and portraits of lots of her 
relations, near and distant, from babies in 
little skirts holdinu" on to their fat little toes 
to grandfather and grandmother, who'd like 
to be their own i^rand-children and commence 
life all over agjain. I want the loan of that 
album for just one day. You write to her 
for it, and sav you're soino^ to send her in its 



62 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

place a spick and span new one, with gilt 
edges, bound in morocco, to commence 
housekeeping with. She'll pack it up in- 
stanter, and you'll receive it by the following 
post." 

" What will you do with it when you've 
got it ? " 

" That's my business, and it's my business 
to give it you back the day after you hand it 
to me, without a picture missing, and in 
company of the spick and span new album 
I've spoken of. Will you do as much for 
me : 

" Yes, I will," I replied. 

" Write to-night," said Mr. JBarlow. 
*' Instead of returning the album through 
the post you can take it back when you go 
to Chudleigh Park to give Mr. Haldane some 
information about Adeline Ducroz that will 
interest him. I should advise you to wait 
three or four days before you do this ; it will 
be time enough. I made a remark to you 
last night about Miss Haldane's age. 
Eighteen, you said ? " 



THE PORTRAIT. 63 

" I asked George this morning, and he said 
that is her age. He knows it through his 
sweetheart." 

" That," remarked Mr. Barlow, " would be 
the age of Adeline Ducroz's daughter if she 
were alive this day. Upon your next visit to 
Chudleigh Park you might have a chat with 
some of the villagers, and learn from them 
when Mrs. Haldane was married, and how 
long ago it is since she died. They are sure 
to know all about a domestic affair of tliat 
kind." Mr. Barlow looked at his watch. 
" It's past six. Come home with me and 
have a cup of tea. Mrs. Barlow will be glad 
to see you. George won't expect you home 
before eight, and you can get back by that 
time." 

George opened the door for me in his shirt 
sleeves. That son of mine never had an idle 
hour. He had turned a room in the house 
into a workshop, and there, when he had 
nothing else to claim his attention, he was 
always to be found, making all sorts of 
things for future housekeeping with which he 



G4 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

intended one day to surprise his Rachel. He 
had just put the finishing touches to a work- 
table for his little wife that was to be, with 
drawers and flaps, and receptables for every- 
thing a woman needed in the way of needle- 
work. I don't know how many weeks he 
had been employed upon this table in his 
leisure time, and it was a pleasure to see the 
pride he took in it, and to see him handle it 
as if it were a living thing, with sense and 
feeling. In his workshop were a number of 
other useful and ornamental articles, brackets, 
small cupboards to hang on the walls, a 
corner cabinet, fitted with glass and shelves, 
and I don't know what all. 

" It's the next best thing to having Eachel 
with me," he said, " working for her and 
thinking of her. Have you heard any news 
of that Honor ia girl ? " 

" None, George." 

He laughed when I told him I was going to 
write to Eachel to send me her album, and 
that Mr. Barlow intended to present her with 
a new one. 



THE rORTRAIT. 65 

" She'll wonder what you want it for," he 
said. " The new one will come in handy for 
the house. Every little helps." 

In due time the album arrived, with a 
])retty note from Eachel, saying she supposed 
I wanted to make the acquaintance of all her 
relations before she and George came to- 
gether. She enclosed a list of the portraits, 
with the family names and ages, nephews, 
nieces, aunts and uncles, and grandmothers 
and grandfathers, just as Mr. Barlow had said 
there would be. 

" Take the greatest care of it," said Rachel 
in her note. "There are portraits in it I 
wouldn't lose for the world." 

" That is one of them," said George, as we 
looked at the portrait of Rachel's young 
mistress. " Next to Rachel's it is the sweetest 
face I have ever seen." 



VOL. II. 20 



CHAPTEE XX. 

A SECOND VISIT TO CHUDLEIGH. 

I GAVE the album to Mr. Barlow, and the 
following day he returned it to me in 
company with a new album, much handsomer 
than I expected he would purchase, requesting 
me to forward it on to Eachel Diprose, with 
all kinds of good wishes and a h.o])e that he 
would soon have the pleasure of making her 
acquaintance." 

" As I have obliged you, Barlow," I said, 
" perhaps you will oblige me now by telling 
me what you wanted the album for." 

He cocked his eye at me knowingly. 
" You don't mean to say you don't know, 
Millington ? " 

"I don't," I replied. 

" You've grown stale," he said, " out of 
training. Well, you're none the worse for it. 



A SECOND VISIT TO CHUDLEIGH. 67 

When I asked for tlie loan of this album I 
guessed that there would be other portraits 
in it than the portraits of pretty Eachel's 
relations. As a confidential servant she 
would be presented, from time to time, with 
portraits of her fellow-servants at the hall, 
and very likely, as a mark of approval, with 
the likenesses of the family she is livnig with. 
Such as the likeness of Miss Haldane, whose 
Christian name you said was " 

'• Agnes." 

" Exactlv. xiij^nes. This is the young 
ladv, isn't it ? " 

" Yes, that is Miss Ilaldane's portrait." 

" To judge by her looks, a born lady. But 
looks are deceptive. Then I reckoned upon 
findini? the likeness of Mr. Haldane, and here 
it is, if I don't mistake." 

I had not given him the list which Eachel 
had sent me ; he had to guess at the pictures 
and had done so correctly. 

" That is Mr. Haldane's portrait," I said. 

"After we joined forces, Millington," 
continued Mr. Barlow, " there seemed to me 
to be one point it was necessary to establish 

20* 



68 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

beyond doubt, and that was whether Mr. 
Haldane and Mr. Julius CHfford were one and 
the same person. I had ray suspicions, and I 
made no secret of them to you, but said I 
to myself, 'Best make sure. Barlow.' So 
I carefully removed from the album the 
likenesses of Mr. and Miss Haldane, and 
mixing them up with a hundred others, took 
them to my client in a loose heap. 'Look 
through these likenesses,' I said to her, ' and 
see if there is anybody you know among 
them.' " 

I interrupted Mr. Barlow by asking whether 
he thought it was quite fair to use Eachel's 
album for such a purpose, and whether it was 
not very much like setting a trap for the girl 
— making her, as it were, an accomplice with 
us against the family she was serving ? 

" Don't worry about that," he said. 
" Eachel will never know anything about it 
unless you tell her. In my opinion it is quite 
fair ; and as to setting a trap for her, that is 
all nonsense. I provided a safeguard. My 



A SECOND VISIT TO CHUDLEIGH. 69 

client was about to look through the like- 
nesses when I laid my hand on them. ' I am 
compelled,' I said to her, ' to make one 
stipulation. Some of these likenesses don't 
belong to me, and have been lent to me Ijy a 
person you are not acquainted with. You 
must promise if you recognize any of them 
not to ask me where I obtained them.' Does 
that satisfy you, Millington ? " 

" I suppose it must," I replied, " the 
mischief being done." 

To speak the honest truth, I was in a 
nervous state to hear the end of his 
manoeuvre. 

" My client gave me the promise, and then 
proceeded to examine the pictures. She 
tossed one after another aside, came to 
the likeness of Mr. Haldane, and stopped. 
She changed colour, and in other ways 
was visibly agitated. ' When and where 
was this likeness taken ? ' she asked. ' I 
don't know,' I answered, and I told her 
there and then that I was not at liberty 
to answer any questions concerning it. 



70 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

'But,' said she, '3^011 are acting as my paid 
agent to discover Mr. Julius Clifford for me.' 
I admitted it. ' This,' she said, pointing 
to Mr. Ilaldane's likeness, ' is the likeness of 
the villain we are searching' for.' ' Obliire 
me,' I said, ' by looking through the other 
pictures and telling me whether you re- 
cognize any one else.' She examined them 
all carefull}^ paused half a moment when she 
came to Miss Haldane's likeness, put it with 
the others, and finished her task. Mr. 
Haldane's likeness was the only one she 
recognized. I pressed her closely about it, 
and asked her if she was sure that she was 
not mistaken. ' I will swear to the likeness,' 
she said. I tied all the portraits together and 
took possession of them. ' You must leave 
the case entirely in my hands,' I said, ' if you 
continue to employ me. You can see that 
I have not been idle, and that I am making 
progress, but as regards these portraits I am 
not exactly a free agent.' She pressed me 
then harder than I had pressed her, but I 
stood my ground, and would give her no 



A SECOND VISIT TO CIIUDLEIGH. 71 

further satisfacion, saying that she must trust 
me entirely, or not at all. After a long 
discussion she gave way, and said she hoped 
I would deal honestly by her. And that is 
how. the matter stands at present. Beyond 
all doubt, Mr. Ilaldane is the man who 
betrayed Adeline Ducroz. The question is 
now, what are we going to do ? " 

I could not answer him ; I had come tu a 
knot, and could not untie it. When I joined 
forces with Mr. Barlow, i had no idea that 
it would lead so straii^ht to what was now 
disclosed. Mr. Barlow's client hoped that he 
would deal honestly by her ; Mr. Ilaldane 
hoped that I would deal honestly by him. 
When I undertook his commission, it was my 
intention to do so ; otherwise I should have 
thrown it up without hesitation ; but in the 
light of the strange disclosures that had been 
made, could I continue to do so ? This was 
the perplexing phase of the matter which 
came slowly to my mind during the silence 
that ensued after Mr. Barlow's question. 

" I wish to heaven," I said, fretfully 



72 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

and impatiently, " that Mr. Haldane had 
never written to me to come to Chudleigh 
Park." 

" What is done,' observed Mr. Barlow, with 
cheap wisdom, " can't be undone." 

" j^ot much comfort in that," I said, not 
over amiably. I was vexed with myself, vexed 
with him, vexed with all the world. "Nor is 
it a very original remark." 

" Admitted," said Mr. Barlow, whose self- 
possession seldom deserted him, "but it is 
not to be despised because of its want of 
originality. It is a rare gift, Millington, 
originality, and I don't lay claim to it. 
Things run pretty much in grooves, as at this 
very moment with you and me." 

" Don't be mysterious. Barlow," I said, 
quite disposed to lash myself into conspicuous 
ill-humour. " Never in my life have I been 
mixed up in such an affair as this. Why 
on earth did I allow myself to be dragged 
into it ? If it wasn't for George " 

"Exactly," said Mr. Barlow. "If it 
wasn't for George. It was in the first 



A SECOND VISIT TO CHUDLElGiJ. 73 

instance your affection for that good fellow 
that led you into it. But many a man starts 
on a journey, and pulls up on the road, 
resolving to turn back. I will explain what 
I m.eant when I said that things with you and 
me are running in the same groove. Neither 
of us anticipated the discoveries that have 
been made, and it is as clear to me as it is to 
you that we cannot go on working together. 
The interests involved are too conflicting. 
Between your client and mine exists a deadly 
enmity, and, as honest men, we cannot serve 
them both. One of us must resign. Which 
one ? " 

I was immensely relieved ; he had shown 
me the way out of my difficulty. "Let it be 
me," I said. 

Mr. Barlow concurred. " I should have 
suggested it if you hadn't. You see, old 
friend, I took the business up because I 
happen to be in the business ; you took it up 
because you had a personal interest in it, the 
sweethearting of George and Eachel. Go to 
Chudleigli Park, and make Mr. Haldane ac- 



74 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

qiiainted with what you know through me, of 
Adeline Ducroz. Say that you learnt the 
particulars through a third party, and if he 
presses you to name the third party put it on 
to me to answer him. You will have a 
diliicult conversation with him, according to 
my reckoning ; he will want to know more 
than you are warranted to disclose, but you 
will judge how far you ought to go in the 
way of satisfying him. How does this strike 
you ? " 

" It is all right,' and. Barlow, it is a 
wonderful relief to me. I am not fit for 
business any longer ; I have grown too fond 
of my ease, of my idle life, of my pipe, and 
my birds, and my garden." 

" Happy man ! " said Mr, Barlow, con- 
templatively. "I look forward to the time 
wdien I shall enjoy the same, with the addi- 
tion of pen, ink, and paper, to immortalize 
my name. Now go and get rid of your 
burden." 

"There is just one thing I would ask," I 
said. " Although I have done with the 



A SECOND VISIT TO CIIUDLEIGH. 75 

aflair I cannot cease to have an interest in 
it. Let me know from time to time how you 
get along." 

" In .confidence," said Mr. Barlow, " I will 
keep nothing from you. And if you find 
Honoria I shall be glad if you will recipro- 
cate." 

" Confidence for confidence," I said, gaily ; 
with the weight off 1113- shoulders I really felt 
quite young ; " every bit of information that 
comes to me shall be at your disposal. Good 
day, old fellow." 

" Good dav," said Mr. Barlow. " Love to 
George and Rachel." 

When I o-ot into the streets, I walked alonof 
briskly, humming a favourite air ; I seemed 
to have got rid of the nightmare. My days 
were once more my own, or would be after 
my interview with Mr. John Haldane, for 
whom, knowing him now to be Julius Clifford, 
I would not have continued to work for any 
consideration. But had it not been for the 
prompt suggestion of Mr. Barlow, I might 
have taken a longer time to make up my 



76 THK MAECH OF FATE. 

mind. I was thankful indeed that he had 
decided for me so quickly. When I reached 
home I wrote a note to Mr. Haldane, intima- 
ting that he might expect to see me at the 
Hall to-morrow afternoon, and my letter 
being posted I lit my pipe, and cleaned the 
cages of my birds, who had grown accus- 
tomed to tobacco smoke, and gave them a 
treat in the shape of a bit of fresh groundsel. 
Buying this of a woebegone individual, with 
wild eyes, stubbly face, clothes in rags, and 
naked feet, caused me to reflect that of all 
the miserable wretches on the face of the 
earth, the men who sell groundsel are the 
most wretched. I asked myself the reason 
why, and was not discomposed because I 
could not find an answer. The reflection, 
and the question, and the attending to my 
birds, and the undisturbed pipe I was enjoy- 
ing, convinced me that I had beaten a healthy 
retreat to pleasanter roads than I had been 
travelling since my first arrival at Chudleigh 
Park. The only comfort that visit had 
brought me was that I had made the 



A SECOND VISIT TO CIIUDLEIGII. 77 

acquaintance of Rachel Diprose, and liad 
satisfied myself that she would make George 
a good wife. " I'll pay for a peal of bells," 
thought I, as I went to-bed, " when the 
wedding comes off." 



^'^&>^^ 



CHAPTER XXI. 

A LETTER FROM HONORIA. 

The landlord of the " Brindled Cow " was 
overjoyed, or pretended to be, at seeing me. 

"You're just like an old friend," said he, 
" and you're going to be treated like one 
whenever you put up at the ' Brindled Cow.' 
I'll defy you or any other man to find a 
better, or a juicier, or a better-cooked joint 
than you'll always find on my table. Vege- 
tables fresh cut for dinner out of my own 
garden ; fruit likewise ; and tastier cucumbers 
3'ou'll not meet with^than my frame grows. 
To say nothing," he added, " of my wine- 
cellar." 

I acquiesced without any display of hypo- 
crisy, for, though but a poor judge of wine, 
his was certainly very 'good. 

I enquired after Simpson, and was informed 
that he was in London. This rather roused 



A LETTER FROM IIOXORIA. 79 

rti}' curiosity, as Simpson had pledged liimself 
to spend an evening with me there on the 
first opportunity. However, I did not men- 
tion this to the landlord, but said a few words 
to the effect that Simpson was a bustling, 
pushing man who seemed to know his way 
about. 

" You may say that," assented the landlord. 
" If he doesn't know the ropes I should like 
to see the man who does." 

Havinf;^ arran<]fed to dine at the " Brindled 
Cow," and sleep there that night, I proceeded 
to the Hall. There I received the news that 
Mr. Ilaldane was also in London, which 
accounted for Simpson's absence from 
Chudleiii'h. As I was making mv inquiry 
and listenino- to the answer a solemn-lookin"- 
individual presented liimself, who I was after- 
wards informed was the house-steward. He 
asked my business and name, and upon my 
informin2[ him that I had written to Mr. 
Haldane and had come down on purpose to 
see him, said that he was instructed to 
request me, in case I arrived at the Hall 



80 THE MARCH OF TATE. 

while Mr. Ilaldane was awa}^ to remain 
in Cliudleigli until Mr. Haldane returned 
or communicated with me. I had no ob- 
jection ; I wanted to get the business over 
as soon as possible, and not have the 
trouble of another journev to Chudleigh 
Park. Before leaving the Hall I contrived 
to see Eacliel, whose manner was not so 
sparkling as usual, although she received 
me with affection. 

•' I have brought your album back," I said, 
" and the new one, a present from a friend. 
It is at the ' Brindled Cow.' Perhaps you 
will come and fetch it this evening ; then we 
can have a chat." 

" Yes, I will," said Eachel, " but I thought 
it was you who was going to make me a 
present of the new album ? " 

" A friend was with me when it arrived," I 
replied evasively, " and he asked me to let 
him buy it instead of me." 

This satisfied Eachel, and she said nothing 
more on the subject. 

" My young lady would like to see you, I 



A LETTER FROM IIONORIA. 81 

think," she said. " I will run up and ask 
her." 

She left me and returned with the messafje 
that Miss Ilaldane would be pleased to see 
me. -Upon entering the young lady's room I 
noticed, also, a change in her manner ; there 
was trouble in her face, and I was sorry to 
see it. My present visit to the Hall had 
occupied only a few minutes, but there 
seemed to be a change in the whole air of the 
place. It was all hfe and animation on my 
previous visits, but now the light appeared to 
have died out of it. " After all," thoudit I, 
thinking of my own little home in Shep- 
herd's Bush, " give me a cozv snug^ijerv, with 
a few rooms in it, for real happiness and 
comfort. If I had to live in a great man- 
sion like this I should feel like a man in a 
wilderness." 

" I was going to write to vou, Mr. Millinfr- 
ton," said Miss Haldane, " and I am ijlad vou 
have come. Can you tell me anything about 
Honoria ? " 

" No," I replied. " I have seen and heard 

VOL. II. 21 



82 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

nothing of her. London is a vast city, Miss 
Haldane ; one may easily lose oneself there." 

" I am greatly distressed about her," said 
Miss Haldane. " She sent me a strange letter 
the day before yesterday, and I am afraid to 
think what will become of her, without a 
home or friends. Here is what she wrote. I 
cannot understand it." 

She gave me the letter, and I was surprised 
at the elegance of the writing. It ran as 
follows : 

" My dear Benefactress, — 

" It would add to my misery if 3-ou 
were to believe that I am umrrateful or un- 
mindful of all you have done for me, and I 
write to beg that you wiU not think it is so. 
As long as I live I shall hold you in grateful 
remembrance. I have given you a base 
return for your kindness ; had I been what 
vou wished me to be, a efood woman, I could 
never have repaid you. How much less can 
I ever hope now to do so, being what I am ? 
You will never hear from me again. Forget 



A LETTER FROM HONORIA. 83 

me. I am not worthy to live in your remem- 
brance. Jkit it may happily be that I can 
put you on your guard again.st one who, I 
understand, is received in your father's house 
as a friend. He was there on your birthday, 
and on the day I came back to the village, 
and was hunted out of it. Ilis name is 
Austin. Believe not a word he saj's. If he 
is already your friend, let him no longer be 
so. He is utterly false and black-hearted. 
I, who know him too well, tell you so 
solemnly, and I swear to God I speak the 
truth. 

" Farewell for ever, 

" HONORIA."' 

In silence I read the letter ; in silence I 
returned it. 

" I can hardly hope," said Miss Haldane 
sadly, " that you can give me any clue to this 
mystery, as it was only on my birthday you 
first came to Chudleigh. I am acquainted 
with no gentleman of the name of Austin, and 
he is not received in my father's house as a 

21* 



84 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

friend. Poor Honoria must be labouring 
under some delusion. I am so young and 
inexperienced, Mr. Millington, that 1 am at 
a loss for words to express myself, 
scarcely knowing, indeed, what it is I wish 
to express." 

The conflicting views that presented them- 
selves to me confused and bewildered me, 
man of the world as I was. One of these 
views was, whether it was not my duty, 
knowing that her friend and her father's 
friend, Mr. Louis Eedwood, was at the same 
time the villain Austin who had brought 
Honoria to shame, to acquaint her with this 
fact ? Honoria wished to put her benefactress 
on her guard ; she had failed. I could do so 
with better effect. Should I shirk the dut}^ ? 
It mio'ht be that the savins or the ruin of an 
innocent and confiding girl's happiness was in 
my hands. Certain it was that at that 
moment I was the only person, apart from the 
villain himself, who M^as in possession of his 
infamous secret. Straight upon these con- 
siderations flashed the open question whether 



A LETTER FROM HONORIA. 85 

the young lady in whose presence I stood was 
the daughter of Adeline Ducroz, whom the 
hapless mother believed to be dead. For the 
time being I set all these matters aside ; I 
would ' consider them later on. They needed 
steady reflection, a calm mind, a cool judg- 
ment ; better to let them bide awhile. 

" Mr. Millington," said Miss llaldane, 
" what chance is there in London for a girl in 
poor Honoria's position ? " 

" She has received a good education, 
thanks to you," I replied, " writes a good 
hand, expresses herself well, and, properly 
dressed, presents more than a decent appear- 
ance. There are thousands of young girls in 
London earning a fair livelihood in a respect- 
able way. I don't speak of the unfortunate 
needlewomen who have to slave half the 
night through for the barest pittance, and 
who are the bound bondswomen of grasping 
sweaters." 

" Grasping sweaters ! " exclaimed Miss 
Haldane, in deep concern, as though I was 
introducing to her a species of unparalleled 



86 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

monsters. " What kind of creatures are 
those?" 

" Men," I said warmly ; it was a theme 
upon which I felt very strongly, " who grow 
rich by grinding their helpless creatures down 
and drivinc^ them to the thin line of starvation. 
I beg your pardon for mentioning them. A 
young girl like Honoria is not likely to fall 
into their clutches. She has too much 
sense " 

" I hope so," said Miss Haldane, piteously, 
" with all my heart I hope so ! I have always 
thouoiit London a beautiful city, but as you 
speak of it, it is terrible, horrible ! And my 
poor Honoria is there alone ! Mr. Millington, 
I can hardly bear to think of it." 

" Then don't think of it. Miss Haldane," I 
said. " I ought to have known better than 
to distress you so. If Honoria likes, she is 
safe from the worst side of it. Haberdashers' 
shops, milliners' shops, and plenty of large 
warehouses are filled with girls earning 
enough to keep them. Better still, there 
are the post offices, and the telegraph 



A LETTER FROM HONORIA. 87 

offices, always glad to get hold of a well- 
educated girl, who, once she gets a footing 
there, can earn good wages, and has only 
to respect herself to make others respect 
her. ' There are plenty of chances. Miss 
Haldane " 

" You make me so much happier by speak- 
ing in that way ! Honoria is such a girl, 1 am 
sure she is." 

" Then," I pursued, warming up to my 
theme, and carried away by my desire to 
lighten Miss Haldane's heart, " a bright, pre- 
sentable and clever girl, being in one of those 
situations, makes acquaintances who invite 
her home, and perhaps in one of those homes 
she makes arrangements to live, earning suffi- 
cient to pay for board and lodging and dress, 
and putting by a little in the post office 
savings bank. She meets a respectable young 
man who falls in love with her, and it happens 
over and over again that he is as agreeable to 
her as she is to him. The natural result 
follows. He proposes, she accepts, and they 
marry, and commence a new life which 



88 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

depends only upon themselves to turn out 
happily." 

" Mr. Millington," said Miss Ilaldane sweetly, 
holding out her hand, " you have rendered 
me a great service. I am much easier in my 
mind about Honoria. Thank you, thank you. 
I am very grateful to you." 

" You humbug ! " thought I as, the inter- 
view ended, I was walking through the lovely 
park to the " Brindled Cow." " You wretched 
hypocrite, to buoy Miss Haldane up with 
hopes which you know well will never l^e 
realized ! As if you had the least notion that 
any such happy future lies before Honoria ! 
You could forecast what will become of her 
pretty accurately if you set your mind to it." 

I did not set my mind to it, my thoughts 
running upon the past, and not upon the 
future. The sin^rular resemblance between 
the lives of Adeline Ducroz and Honoria 
forced itself vividly upon me. Each had been 
betrayed and deserted, and their betrayers 
had each played his part under a false name. 
Notwithstanding my determination to have 



A LETTER FROM IIOXORIA. 89 

no further business dealings with Mr. Haldane, 
I could not but take a deep interest in the 
ultimate issue of the base wrong he had per- 
petrated ; but it suited me much better to be 
a looker on in the game of cross purposes, 
the result of which it would take a wiser head 
than mine to foresee. 




CHAPTER XXII. 

MR. HALDANE RECEIVES A CHARACTER. 

For the greater part of the year the village of 
Chudleigh was a kind of Sleepy Hollow ; it 
was only upon rare occasions that it w^oke up, 
and exhibited symptoms of liveliness and 
hilarit}'. On my previous visits I had seen it 
in its latter aspect ; on my present visit I saw 
it in its former. 

It was evening. The cottage doors and 
windows were closed, hermetically sealed as it 
were ; there were no gossips about ; on my 
walk back to "The Brindled Cow" I had 
seen but one man, and he seemed to walk 
with muffled feet. There was not a soul in 
the bar of the public-house ; the tap room, 
with its bagatelle table, was deserted ; and the 
landlord, a married man with no children, and 
with a wife who spoke with bated breath, 
would have been doomed to a life of apathy 



MR. HALDANE RECEIVES A CHARACTER. 91 

and loneliness had it not been for my com- 
panionship, lie accepted with avidity my 
invitation to dinner, and drank his own wine 
wtth appreciation. In the course of our 
conversation, I asked him whether Chudleigli 
Park was an old estate. 

*' Eather," he replied. " It dates centuries 
back. You may read all aljout it in the 
county book. A very old family it was, gone 
to the dogs many a long year ago. Spent 
their acres riuht and left. Mr. Ilaldane's 
father was a contract man ; made his fortune, 
bought the whole place up, stock and block, 
and settled down there. They give them- 
selves airs they're not entitled to." 

" Good," thought I ; " we are on the 
road." 

" There's a many here," continued the 
landlord, " as look down on them as much as 
they look down on us ; but they've got the 
upper hand. Old families are like old wine ; 
there's a flavour about them, as a body may 
say, that's wanting in new bottles. The coat- 
of-arms made in bloody wars — that's the sort 



92 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

of tiling all men must bow down to, whatever 
their politi(3s. I can't say I'm in love with 
the present master. He's one man here, and 
another man there." 

" Here in Chudleigh, do you mean, and 
there in London ? " 

" Yes, that's what I mean. He was a wild 
'un in his young days, and I shouldn't like to 
take my oath that he's reformed. He kept 
his father going, I can tell you, with his wild 
doings and the money he spent. Eight and 
left it went — it's in the blood of the Haldanes, 
I believe, to be extravagant enough on their 
own pleasures. It's a selfish world. There 
were scenes between the father and son, 
sometimes here, sometimes in other parts. 
The j^oung rake wasn't at home more than a 
month or two a year ; he had game to fly 
elsewhere." 

" It's wonderful," I said, " how these things 
reached your ears." 

" They did, somehow. Things float in the 
air, you know. Well, matters came to such 
a pass that the old gentleman swore that he 



MR. IIALDANE RECEIVES A CHARACTER. 93 

would disinherit his son. He travelled back 
to the Hall in a towering rage, and sent for a 
lawyer to make a new will. Down came the 
lawyer with quills and parchment and blue 
bag ; but he arrived too late. The old 
gentleman had worked himself up so that he 
fell in a fit, and died, after tearing up and 
burning the will he'd made in favour of his 
son. Little charred bits of it were found in 
his room. It didn't make any difference to 
the son. He was the lawful inheritor, and he 
stepped in and took possession." 

" A change for the better you found it," I 
observed. 

" Not at all ; there was nothing to be 
thankful for. For a goodish time the new 
master didn't show up much at the Hall. He 
spent his money in foreign parts. He could 
do as he pleased, of course, but it didn't 
speak well for him that he held himself off so. 
From that day to this he's done nothing for 
the village to give it a spurt. If anything, 
it's duller and slower now than when I was 
a bov." 



94 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" There must have been gay doings at his 
wedding," I said, coming to the subject upon 
which I desired enlightenment. 

" You're mistaken again. We knew no- 
thino- about his marriage from what took 
place here. We heard that he'd married in 
London, and we looked forward to a bit of 
festivity ; but he took no more notice of us 
than if we were cattle. It was five years 
afterwards that he came back here, with his 
little daughter. His wife was dead, we was 
told, and not a man among us had ever set 
eyes on her." 

" The daughter you speak of is Miss Hal- 
dane ? " 

" Yes, God bless her ! " said the landlord, 
with a flash of enthusiasm. " She's as much 
like her father as chalk's like cheese ; there's 
not a man or woman in the village who has 
an ill word for her, and who wouldn't be 
happy to do her a service. If she was the 
reigning lady things would be different from 
what they are." 



CIIAPTEE XXIII. 

WHO IS T il E MASTER? 

The information imparted Ly the landlord 
did not assist me in coming to any definite 
conclusion as to whether Miss Ilaldane was 
or was not the daughter of Adeline Ducroz — 
always supposing, of course, that the report 
of the child's death shortly after her birth, 
was false, which was an assumption at which 
Mr. Barlow's client appeared to have arrived. 
I appUed myself to the task of extracting 
such scraps of further information from my 
companion as might chance to be of use to 
me. Did he know into what family Mr. 
Haldane had married, I asked. No, he re- 
plied, he did not, and what was more, he did 
not care ; nor did any of the villagers, he 
added. Mr. Haldane had chosen to ignore 
them, and to treat them as though they were 
so much dirt. What interest, therefore, was 



96 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

it likely tliey would take in a domestic 
occurrence, even of that importance ? 

" You said awhile ago," I said, " that Mr. 
Haldane was one man here and another man 
there. You referred to his young days, I 
take it. He has sown his wild oats." 

" Has he ? " exclaimed the landlord. " I 
could tell a different tale if I'd a mind to. 
When the parson preaches about saints and 
sinners it would have a better application if 
he pointed his finger straight at Mr. Haldane. 
But they don't throw stones at the rich ; it's 
the poor they hammer away at. What 
would the parson say, I wonder, if he saw 
the master, as I've seen him, on a racecourse, 
carrying on with painted ladies in a way a 
common man would be ashamed of ! What 
would he say if '' 

But whatever further revelations the land- 
lord was about to make, they were, much to 
my vexation, cut short by the appearance of 
his wife, who, opening the door unceremo 
niously, stood there and beckoned to hhn. 
Otherwise she neither spoke nor moved ; she 



WHO IS THE MASTER? 97 

simply beckoned to liiiii. There was no 
resisting the mandate. Rising, after a period 
of imbecile hesitation, he looked at me fool 
ishlv, and meekly followed his wife from the 
room,. indicating to me unerringly that if ever 
the grey mare was the better horse within the 
walls of an Englishman's castle, the animal 
reigned here within the walls of the " Brindled 
Cow/' 

Later on I had a conversation with Eacliel, 
which I opened by saying : 

" So you and your young mistress are 
alone at the Hall ? " 

" Yes," said Rachel, with a half sigh, " we 
are all alone." 

" You find it duU, Rachel ? " 

" Oh, no, not at all," she said promptly. 
" We are used to beinix alone. Mr. Haldane 
often cfoes to London." 

" How often, my dear ? " 

" Oh, over and over again. He spends 
more than half his time there." 

" Taking Miss Haldane with him some- 
times, I suppose ? " 

VOL. 11. 22 



98 THE M.IECH OF FATE. 

" He never does that. He goes all by him- 
self without any warning. And he often 
comes back that way. I don't mind saying 
it to you, Mr. Millington, but if I was a 
young lady I shouldn't like to have such a 
father." 

" Anything you say to me, my dear, is in 
confidence. I look upon you alieady as my 
daughter. And now, Rachel, the question 
that comes to me is, does Miss Haldane's 
happiness depend upon herself or upon 
someone else ? There's a lover abroad, 
3'ou told me, a young gentleman who's 
trying to make his fortune over the water. 
Does Miss Haldane's happiness depend upon 
him ? " 

" In one way it does, in another way it 
doesn't. You see, Mr. Millington, they can't 
do as they like, my young lady and her true 
sweetheart over the sea. There's a big stone 
in the way." 

" The stone has a name, Kacliel." 

"The name's Mr. Eedwood." 

" Ah, Mr. Louis Eedwood, the bosom friend 



WHO IS THE MASTER? 99 

of Mr. Ilaldaue. Do you mean to tell me 
that he wants to marry your mistress ? '' 

" He has proposed to her," said Eadiel. 

" And she has refused him ? " 

"Yes." 

" How does he take her refusal ? " 

"Laughs at it, won't accept it seriously, 
says she cannot know her own mind, and that 
he will go on loving and loving her.'" 

" What does her father say ? " 

" He backs Mr. Eedwood up. Of course 
you know, Mr Millington, my young lady 
doesn't tell me everything that passes between 
her father and her." 

" I should think, my dear, she tells you 
very little ; but you've got a head on your 
shoulders." 

'• I have to guess the best part. He talks 
to her in his study, with nobod}' else by, and 
when she comes out I see by her eyes that 
she's been crying. ]\Ir. Millington, the other 
day I saw Mi\ Eedwood crossing the bridge 
over the lake to Chudleigh Woods, and I did 
wish that Mr. Eedwood would tumble into the 



100 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

lake, I did indeed. It's that deep and that 
tangled with lily roots, that it wouldn't have 
been easy for him to get out." 

"Mr. Haldane and he being so thick 
together, it's likely that they often meet in 
London." 

" From what my young lady lets fall I 
should say they do. What do you think I've 
heard whispered about, Mr. MiUington — not 
from my young lady, but other people ? " 

"Tell me, Eachel." 

"That Mr. Eedwood is almost as much 
master here as Mr. Haldane himself. Mr. 
Eedwood is enormously rich ; they say he's 
got millions and millions. When he was quite 
a child, the story goes, a very, very large 
fortune was left to him, and he wasn't to have 
it till he was twenty-one years of age. All 
the time he was growing up the fortune kept 
growing up too, so that in the end it became 
something wonderful. I've heard that he 
could spend a thousand pounds a week, and 
not feel it. It's a pity his money didn't fall 
to a better man." 



WHO IS THE MASTER? 101 

" It is. The whisper that's about, that he's 
ahnost as much master here as Mr. llaldaiie, 
is -caused, I should say, b}' Mr. llaldane 
borrowing money of him." 

"That's what I've heard. Large sums of 
money." 

" Which indicates that Mr. llaldane is 
pressed for it. There are mortgages, perhaps. 
All this is very serious, Eachel ; it doesn't 
make the road smoother for your mistress. 
Will she give way eventually ? Will her 
father persuade her to marry Mr. lledwood ? " 

" Xever, never, though there wasn't another 
man in all the wide world. She hates the 
very sif^ht of him." 

" Still, with her father on his side, urging 
her " 

" No, ^Mr. Millington, no. She's quiet, and 
gentle, and has the temper of an angel, but 
she can be firm as a rock. She'U be true 
to her lover thoucrh they may never come 
together ; her father and Mr. Eedwood may 
break her heart between them, but they won't 
persuade her to marry a man she doesn't love. 



102 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

When you were with m^^ younsf lach' you 
must have noticed that she wasn't as bright 
as usuaL" 

" Yes, I noticed it." 

" There was a reason for it. Before her 
father went to London this last time he and 
my young lady were together in his study a 
good hour. A bad hour, I ought to call it, 
because all that day she never opened 
her lips to me. That didn't prevent 
my knowing what he'd been talking to her 
about ; and when Mr. Eedwood, who went to 
London with Mr. Haldane, said <iood-bye to 
my young lady, with his false voice and cold 
eyes, that can be as cold and cruel as voice 
and eyes can l)e, I'd have liked to poison him. 
That's the reason of her being unhappy. 
Every morning there comes from London 
baskets of the loveliest flowers that Mr. Eed- 
wood sends to her. They must cost a mint of 
money ; but what's the use of 'em to a lady 
who doesn't care for him, and who's got more 
flowers 2:rowin2: here all around her than she 
knows what to do with ? He only sends them 



WHO IS THE MASTER? 103 

to show that he's got a power over her 
through her father, and I hate him ! " 

She stamped her foot, and I could not but 
admire her for lier loyalty, thoufjh it stood in 
the way of hei- own happiness. 

" If George saw me like this," she said, 
present!}', with a little uncomfortable laugh, 
" he'd think I've got a nice temper of my 
own. I can't help it. liight's right, and 
wrong's wrong.' 

I turned the subject by saying, " It's a pity 
Miss Kaldano hasn't a mother liyinc^ whose 
influence, used on her daughter's side, would 
be likely to turn the scale in her favour." 

" It is a pity," assented Kachel. 

" Does Miss Ilaldane ever speak of her 
mother ? "' I asked. 

" Never." 

"Is there a portrait of the lady in the 
Hall ? " 

" If there is," said Eachel, " I've not seen 
it." 

" How lonix have you been in Miss 
Haldane's service ? " 



104 THE MARCH OF i'ATE. 

" Nine years." 

" That was long after Mrs. Haldane's 
death ? " 

" It must have been. I've never heard her 
spoken of by anybody." 

It was clear that Eachel could give me no 
satisfactory information upon an important 
branch of the tanoied storv. Recoonizingf 
this, I began to speak of other things, and 
was pleased to see the vexed and anxious 
look fade out of her eyes before I left her 
for the night. Smoking my pipe I strolled 
along the quiet, narrow street of the village, 
reflecting upon the position of affairs. I had 
gained an insight into certain matters which 
had an important bearing upon the story of 
love and intrisjue, but the lonoer I thouoht of 

CD ' O C 

it the more saisfied was I that I was wise in 
throwing up my share in it. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS JUS COMMISSION. 

During my breakfast the next morning the 
solemn-looking house steAvard of the Hall 
called upon me, and said that he had received 
a telegram from Mr. llaldane, ^vho was on 
his way to Chudleinh, and would receive me 
at the Hall at twelve o'clock. At that hour I 
was received by Mr. Haldane in his stud}-. 
He came straight to the point. 

" I did not expect," he said, " that you 
would have anything to impart to me so soon, 
or I should not have left Chudleiuh ; but I 
was well within reach, and there has been a 
delay of only a few hours. I presume you 
have sometliini][ to communicate." 

" Yes, sir," I said. " I think I mav safely 
say that I have executed the commission you 
entrusted to me." 



106 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" You have been quick about it," said Mr. 
Ilalclane, and I observed indications of ner- 
vousness in liis manner. " Let me hear what 
you have to say," 

"Miss Adehne Ducroz and Mr. JuUus 
CHfTord," I commenced, " were in Paris in the 
year you named." 

" A waste of words," said Mr. Ilaldane, 
with a frown. " You were informed to that 
effect. Have 3'ou been employing 3'our time 
in verifying the statements I made to you on 
behalf of Mr. Clifford ? " 

" Not that I am aware of, in any special 
way," I replied, pausing a moment to preserve 
my temper, which Mr. Ilaldane's haughtiness 
had aroused. " Mr. Ilaldane, it seems to me 
necessar}' to remind you that I did not seek 
this commission. You placed 3'ourself in 
communication witli me in the first instance, 
and it was with reluctance I undertook the 
task." 

" I see no need for argument," said Mr. 
Haldane. " Have you any special reason for 
what you are pleased to remind me ? " 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. 1U7 

" I have, sir. You do not speak to me 
with courtesy." 

He stared hard at me, and paused to master 
his temper, as I had paused to master mine. 
Evidently lie was not accuslumed to be so 
addressed by those whom he considered and 
treated as his inferiors. He paused longer 
than I did, half expecting me, I think, to 
speak, and thus save him tlie awkwardness of 
re{)lying in a direct manner to my indepen- 
dent remonstrance, but 1 preserved silence, 
and waited for him, which was another novel 
experience to the proud gentleman. 

" I have no intention," he said, " of treat- 
ing you discourteously. I shall feel obliged 
if you will proceed." 

" I had to begin at some point," I said, 
" and that point was Paris. If I had not 
ascertained that Miss Ducroz and Mr. Clifford 
were in Paris at the time you mentioned, I 
should have come to a full stop at once. You 
hampered my enquiries by omitting to supply 
me with the name of the hotel at which they 
stopped." 



108 THE MARCH Oi' FATE. 

" I informed you," he said, " that I would 
endeavour to obtain it, and would send it on 
to you." 

" I received no communication from 
you," I said, " and I must therefore repeat 
that my movements were hampered. I 
infer that you communicated with Mr. 
Clifford, and that he had forgotten the 
name." 

" You may infer as much." 

" The first thing to ascertain," I proceeded, 
taking, I must own, a malicious pleasure in 
the method I was adopting, " was whether 
they stopped at any hotel. They did not ; 
they occupied a private apartment. Shall I 
go on from that point ? " 

" Certainly from that point. Why the 
inquiry ? " 

" Because my investigation has furnished 
me with particulars relating to the history of 
the parties before they visited Paris." 

He turned pale, understanding what I 
intended him to understand, that I had dis- 
covered that the particulars of their previous 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION, 109 

history with wliidi he had funiislied me were 
false. 

'? We will not go into that," he said ; 
" commence at Paris." 

" When Mr. ClifTord left the lady in Paris 
she was in a danj^erous illness, broui^ht on 
partly by a lamentable infatuation for drink." 

" Only partly brought on l)y that infatua- 
tion ? " he enquired, warily. 

" So my hiformation goes. She was suffer- 
ing greatly from grief of mind produced by 
her relations with Mr. Chfibrd, which dis- 
honoured her, and were more dishonourable 
to him." 

" Are you here to preach morals, Mr. 
Millington ? " 

" I am here, sir, to relate what I have 
learned, in accordance with vour instructions. 
I assume that you are anxious that nothing 
shall be concealed." 

" Proceed, if you please." 

" The malady from which Miss Ducroz 
was suffering led to strange developments, 
and it was right and proper that its cause 



110 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

should be traced, altliough sucli information 
as I have gained on that score was not the 
result of direct investigation. It came to me 
in a chance way, as it were. Her passion for 
drink was more a cultivated than an inherent 
vice, and it was produced by Mr. Clifford's 
treatment of her." 

" A statement of that nature,'' said Mr. 
Haldane, " can be but mere hearsay." 

" It might not be difficult," I retorted, " to 
obtain more than mere hearsay evidence upon 
the point. Some time after the departure of 
Mr. Clifford from Paris, with the precise date 
of which you did not furnish me, a child was 
born, a girl." 

" Who died," said Mr. Haldane, somewhat 
too quickly. 

" So it was reported, but the particulars of 
its death, such as date, place of burial, et- 
cetera, are wanting. Without these particu- 
lars the death of the child cannot be absolutely 
established. It is said that the baby died 
while the mother was in a delirious state, and 
she heard of it for the first time durin"' an 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. Ill 

interval of reason when she was living in the 
house of a foreign doctor who undertook the 
curp of the disease from which Miss Ducroz 
was'sufTering." 

"The poor woman," said Mr. Ilaldane, 
" ended her days there." 

" She did not." 

Mr. Haldane's face turned white as falling 
snow. " She did not ! " he echoed. 

" She did not," I repeated. " With the 
assistance of an attendant in that house she 
made her escape, and finding her way to the 
cottage in which this attendant's sister, a 
married woman, resided, lived with her there 
some short time, until the occurrence of a 
calamitous circumstance which caused her to 
fly from the place." 

" Are 3'ou certain," asked Mr. Ilaldane, 
" that you have not been pursuing a false 
track, that you are not confusing one woman 
with another ? " His voice was very strained 
as he put this question, and his face had not 
regained its colour. 

" I am quite certain that I have not been 



112 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

misled. There is no possible doubt as to the 
exactness of my information." 
" Does proof of this exist ? " 

I did not repl}- ; bearing in mind Mr. 
Barlow's caution as to how far I was warranted 
to go in my disclosures, I was on my guard. 

" Does proof of this exist?" repeated Mr, 
Haldane. " Why do you not answer me ? " 

" It is not in my power to do so," I said. 
" Much of my information has been gained 
through a third party, who has imposed 
secrecy upon me." 

" A third party ! " exclaimed Mr. Haldane, 
beating the table with anger with his clenched 
hand. " Then you have betrayed my confi- 
dence, and have made the affair with which I 
entrusted you common property." 

" I have done nothing of the kind, Mr. 
Haldane," I said firmly, " and if 3'ou do not 
treat me with proper respect I shall put an 
end to this interview immediately." 

" You will put an end to this interview ? " 
he cried. 

" 1 will, indeed," I said, in a calm voice. 



MK. MILLINGTOX RESIGNS HIS COilMISSION. 113 

" Had it not been for yourself I should have 
known nothing of the affair, and my one regret 
is "that I ever allowed mvself to be dra^'-ired 
into so base a piece of business. Take the 
blame upon youi' own shoulders for compel- 
ling me to address you in such a manner. 
You seem to forget, sir, what you owe to 
yourself and to others in your transactions. 
' You seem, also, to forget that you are acting 
for a person with whom I am not supposed to 
be acquainted." 

" I am corrected," said Mr. Ilaldane, show- 
ing the white feather, as all blusterers do 
when they are met with a bold front ; " but 
3^ou, too, seem to forget yourself when you 
refer to Mr. Clifford as a person, instead of 
speaking of him as a gentleman." 

" I decline," I said, preserving my com- 
posure, although I was inwardly somewhat 
chafed, " to regard him as a gentleman after 
what I have learned of his character ; were he 
present at this moment I should have no 
hesitation in saying so to his face. Perhaps 
it will be best, after all, sir, as we are both 
VOL. II. 23 



114 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

getting rather heated, to carry out my sugges- 
tion of ending this interview. I had no inten- 
tion, when I came to see you, of doing or 
saying anything except what belongs properly 
to the unfortunate commission I accepted from 
you. Had you allowed me to tell my story 
straight on, and to give you the result of my 
inquiries without interruptions, I should not 
have been provoked into the expression of 
opinions." 

" The interview," said Mr. Ilaldane, almost 
deferential now in his manner, " cannot be 
allowed to end here. I will not use the word 
'unprofessional,' but it certainly would not 
be fair to withhold any further information 
which you may have gathered in the course 
of the business you undertook for me, on 
behalf of Mr. Clifford. You cannot imagine 
that I have myself any personal interest in the 
matter, and it is therefore ridiculous that I 
should have taken up your opinions so warmly. 
1 apologize to you, Mr. Millington, and beg 
you to proceed." 

" Very well, sir. How it was that the 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION, 115 

rumour you mentioned of Miss Ducroz dvinj^ 
in the house of the doctor got about I cannot 
say ; I have heard nothing of such a rumour 
until now from your hps " 

■" Say, if you please," interrupted Mr. 
Haldane, " from Mr. Clifford's hps." 

" As you are acting for Mr. Clifffjrd, sir," I 
said, with intentional emphasis, " it is one and 
the same." The arrow struck home, I saw, 
but I did not appear to notice it. " Shortly 
after Miss Ducroz' flight, however, from the 
cotta<Te in which she had found a refu2i;e a 
rumour of her death was circulated, and 
it was supposed she committed suicide by 
drowning. That rumour also, proved to be 
false, for some four or five years afterwards 
Miss Ducroz was seen alive bv a woman who 
was acquainted with her." 

" May I ask who this woman is ? " 

"Mr. Clifford will remember her. She is 
the woman who nursed Miss Ducroz in Paris, 
under his direction and in his pay." 

" Is it known positively that she was 
employed and paid by Mr. Clifford ? " asked 

23* 



IIG THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Mr. Haldane, again, by liis agitation and 
imprudence, laying himself open to attack. 

" By whom else," I replied, " could she 
have been employed and paid ? Miss Ducroz 
had no family or friends in Paris or England, 
and she was destitute of means. The only 
friend she had in the world was in America 
at that time — so my information goes." 

" A lady or gentleman friend, may I 
enquire ? " 

If I had not been aware that he himself 
was Julius Clifford, his eagerness and his 
curiosity to learn all I knew would have 
betrayed him, 

" A lady who had brought Miss Ducroz up 
as her daughter, and who took her to 
America. Her name is Kennedy. You will 
tell Mr. Clifford this ? " 

" I shall tell him everything you have 
imparted to me. It is dry work, Mr. Milling- 
ton, relating so long and wearisome a story. 
Will you have a glass of wine ? " 

" No, thank you, sir," I said, as he pro- 
duced wine and glasses from a compartment 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. 117 

in the sideboard. "I consider myself on 
duty, and I never drink during business." 

'His hand trembled as he poured out a full 
glass and tossed it down ; he filled another 
and pushed it towards me, but I did not 
touch it. 

" You were saying, Mr. Millington " 

" That Miss Ducroz being in Paris without 
friends or means, and being attended by 
nurses and doctors, it must have been Mr. 
Clifford who paid the expenses of her 
illness." 

" Is it not possible that she may have 
made another friend during her residence in 
Paris ? " 

"Possible enough," I replied, "but the in- 
formation obtained is too precise and absolute 
to admit of such a conjecture. Here, sir, I 
come to an end of my task." 

" You have ascertained nothino- further 
with respect to Miss Ducroz ? " 

" Nothing further that I can speak of with 
certainty, or that I have the right to speak of 
at all." 



118 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" That is a strange answer. Can you 
inform me whether she is still living ? " 

" It is not in my power to answer that 
question." 

"You have gained a vast amount of 
information in a short space of time," said 
Mr. Haldane, with a furtive but keen 
observance of me. " What methods did you 
adopt ? " 

*' We never reveal professional secrets." 

"There is a likelihood that you have 
discovered more than you have imparted to 
me. For instance, the name of the Parisian 
nurse to whom you have referred." 

" Yes. Madame Pau. She met Mr. 
Clifford in Paris some time after Miss 
Ducroz's departure from that city, and it was 
he who informed her that Miss Ducroz and 
her child were dead. This is a proof that he 
had taken means to keep himself acquainted 
with Miss Ducroz's history after he deserted 
her in Paris " 

" You are not choice in your language, Mr. 
Millington." 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS HIH COMMISSION. 119 

" I am speaking, sir, of Mr. Clifford, not of 
Mr. Haldane." 

," True ; but I had no idea you were so 
sensitive." 

•" You surely did not suppose you were 
employing a machine ? " 

" No, certainly not. I should like to ask 
another question or two, Mr. Millington." 

" You can do so, sir, but I will not promise 
to answer them." 

" Did your investigations lead you to any 
disclosures, true or false, of Mr. Clifford's 
acquaintance with Miss Ducroz before their 
visit to Paris ? " 

I did not regret the opportunity he afforded 
me to answer and sting him. *' They did. I 
am acquainted with the complete history of 
their acquaintance." 

" Does it tally," he asked, " with the 
account I gave you of that acquaintance."' 

" It does not, sir. There is a very serious 
difference in the two versions. Remember, if 
you please, that I do not make this statement 
voluntarily. You have invited it." 



120 IHE MAECII OF FATE. 

"You will favour me, I dare say, with the 
false version presented to you by the — 

the " He was in a difficulty for word . 

to express himself — " the opposing party." 

"I cannot do that, sir." 

"Will money buy it from you, Mr. 
Millington ? " 

" Money will not buy it from me, sir." 

" We will speak of it again by and by ; 
my desire is to remain on friendly terms 
with you. Wliat do you propose now to 
do ? " 

" I have completed my task, sir, and all 1 
have to do is to render my account. It is 
here, sir, and you can examine it now, or at 
your leisure. You gave me a cheque for two 
hundred pounds. My journeys to and from 
Chudleigh Park, with the incidental exjDenses, 
amount to less than live pounds. I have 
brought the balance in cash, and shall feel 
obliged if you will count it." 

" But, Mr. Millington," he exclaimed, in 
amazement, " you do not mean to say that 
the expenses of so wide an inquirj^ can have 



MR. MILLINGTON RESIGNS IIIS COMMISSION. IL'I 

been so light ? It is preposterous. Keep the 
money, 1 beg. There is your professional 
experience, your valuable time " 

"^For which," I said, not interrupting him, 
and only taking his words up because he did 
not finish the sentence, " I make no charge. I 
relinquished business some time since, and 
should never have returned to it." 

" I cannot be under any obligation to you," 
he said, with the mortification of a proud, 
vain man accustomed to have his way. " I 
shall insist upon paying you for your 
services." 

"You cannot force me to accept payment," 
I said, w^th a smile ; I had had the upper 
hand of him all through, and I meant to keep 
it. " It is not worth while ariruing, sir. I 
wish you good morning." 

" Sta}^" he cried, as I stepped towards the 
door, " there is something exceedingly sus 
picious in the attitude you have assumed. 
Another man would doubt whether vou had 
behaved honestly by him." 

" It is open to you to do so," I retorted. 



122 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" I certainly should not answer such an 
accusation." 

" Or," he continued, " having accepted a 
commission from a gentleman who entrusted 
you with certain secrets, you, without 
warning or notice, transferred your services 
to some person or persons who wish to injure 
him." 

" I will satisfy you so far," I said. " I am 
in the serv^ice of no person whatever, and 
shall not stir actively in the matter from this 
day forth." 

So saying I wished good day again, and 
left him with a dark cloud upon his face, 
standing by the table, upon which he was 
beating the devil's tattoo. 

" Eachel," I said, later in the day, when 
she was walking with me to the railway 
station, " I do not think you will see me in 
Chudleigh again. Our next meeting will be 
in London, and I hope it will be soon." 



CHAPTEIi XXV. 

SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 

Having, then, washed my hands of the aflair, 
I bade adieu to Chiidleigh with the idea that 
I should never visit it again uidess under the 
impulse of curiosity. I returned to London 
a much lighter-hearted man than I had been 
for several days past ; it really seemed to me 
as if I had j^ot rid of a nightmare. Mv first 
visit was paid, of course, to Mr. Barlow, to 
whom I related all that had passed. Nothing 
surprises Mr. liarlow, and consequently he 
expressed no surprise at the information I 
gave him. 

" It is imprudent for a man to make 
enemies," he said, " and it is an error into 
which the proud gentleman of Chudleigli 
Park falls rather heavily. I told you that 
you would have a hard task with him. He 



124 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

curbed himself in, evidently, being frightened 
by the knowledge you have gained of his 
character ; but take my word for it, if ever 
he can do you a bad turn he will not 
hesitate." 

"He is not likely to have the opportunity," 
I said, " our lines lay far apart now." 

*' It is those lines that lie so far apart,'' 
observed Mr, Barlow sagely, " that so often 
cross when least expected. High and low 
are closer together than you suspect. Life's 
a chessboard ; move a pawn wrong, and your 
king's in danger. That's a singular letter 
you tell me of from the girl Honoria to Miss 
Haldane. What if she should come into the 
play ? " 

" Hardly possible," I remarked. 

" In the highest degree possible," said Mr. 
Barlow, in correction. " Miss Haldane's 
future is involved in that of Mr. Louis 
Redwood. There are strong links between 
Honoria and Mr. Eedwood. Mr. Eedwood 
is in close connection with Mr. Haldane 
See ? " 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 125 

"I am not going to worry my head," I 
said gaily. " I leave it to you, Barlow." 

" And what they call fate," said Mr. 
Barlow, thoughtfully. 

" I am content," I said. " I am free." 

" Not quite," said Mr. Barlow. " You will 
hear something yet, not of your seeking, of 
that fellow Simpson." 

Mr. Barlow was right. I think it was 
within a week that, standinf"' at my .street 
door, smoking a pipe, I saw Mr. Simpson 
coming down the street towards me. 

"Here I am, Millington," he said, with 
gratified effusion, " as large as life. How are 
you, old friend ? " 

I replied that I was very well, which was 
true, and that I was glad to see him, which 
was false. 

" I knew you would |be," he said, " after 
our pleasant meetings in Chudleigh. You've 
been down there again. Had a jolly time, I 
hope?" 

"Pretty weU," I said. 

" Now, MiUington, Millington," he said, in 



126 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

sportive rebuke, *' I wouldn't have believed it 
of you. ' What I like about Millingtou,' I 
said to a friend yesterday, when I was speak- 
ing of you and telling my friend what a 
thorough clipper you M^ere, ' is that there's 
nothing double-faced about him. And that's 
a good deal more than you can say 
of most Londoners.' A jolly time at 
Chudleigh ! No, no, my friend. Chudleigh's 
the beastliest hole that a man can vegetate 
in. Between ourselves, what took you down 
there ? " 

" Private business," I said to clench the 
matter." 

" Ah, private business. Good to invest 
money there, you told me. Made up your 
mind ? " 

" Not quite." 

" Likely to go down again ? " 

" Not at present." 

" You're a close one, Millington," he said, 
smothering his chagrin in a laugh. " Well, 
I won't be hard on you. That's the advan- 
tage of being a Londoner, and living in 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 127 

London. You've feathered your nest. Seen 
anytliing ol Ilonoria ? " 

" 'Nothing. Have j'ou ? " 

" Not set eyes on her. I went to see a 
play the other day — ' Lost in London.' It 
was all about a young woman, too." 

" Easy enough for a young woman to do 
that." 

" To lose oneself here. Right you are, 
Millington. And to play one's game here 
without anybody being the wiser. But 
mum's the word, eh ? " 

From Simpson's state of restlessness, burn- 
ing to babble, I judged that he had been 
imbibing a glass or two. I did not encourage 
him, however ; I had done with his master, 
and had no disposition to be drawn into the 
net again. 

"I'll tell vou what," MiUinixton," said 
Simpson. " I've got a night off, and I'U spend 
it with you." 

This was cheerful, and inwardly I did not 
receive it gracefully ; but in a sort of way 
I had brought the infliction upon myself 



128 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

])y the address card 1 had given Simpson 
in Chndleigh, and without being down- 
right boorish I could not very well shake 
him off. 

" I will," he said. " We'll make a night of 
it. You shall give me a cup of tea, and then 
we'll o'o to a music hall or a theatre. I don't 
ask you to stand treat. We'll pay equal 
shares. That's only fair. When I'm in 
London I feel like a sailor just come ashore. 
No meanness about me, Millington. Here's 
my money," — he rattled some coins in his 
pocket — " and I spend it free. What's life 
without jollity ? I'll wait till I'm sixty before 
I become a chapel man." 

As luck would have it, my little maid came 
to the door, and said that tea was ready. 

" That's what I call friendly," said Simpson, 
clapping me on the shoulder. " After 3'ou, 
Millington, after you." 

So I stepped back into the passage, and 
Simpson followed me. George, who had 
come home early from his workshop, ran 
downstairs from his room, where he was 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. l'2d 

fashioning some article for his future domestic 
life, with Rachel, and pulled himself up when 
he saw me in the company of a stranger. 

"My son, George," I said, introducing 
them. " This is Mr. Simpson, from Chudleigh 
Park." 

" Glad to make your acquaintance, young 
Mr. Millington," said Simpson. " You're a 
chip of the old block. Hallo ! " 

"What caused this exclamation was a photo- 
graph of Rachel Diprose, for which George 
had made a pretty frame. It hung over the 
mantelshelf. He looked at the picture, 
looked at George, and George looked at 
him. 

" If my eyes don't deceive me," said 
Simpson, " that's a fair friend of mine. 
There can't be two of 'em. Prettv Rachel, 
from the HaU." 

" Miss Diprose," said George, stiffly. 

" Yes, pretty Rachel Diprose. But I had 
no notion she'd ever been in London." 

" She never has been, I believe," I said, 
and then I explained that some months ago 
VOL. II. 24 



130 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

George had been down in Chudleigli, assisting 
in tlie alterations at the HalL 

" I remember their being made," said 
Simpson, with a lofty air, " though I wasn't 
in Eno'Iand at the time. Mr. Ilaldane and I 
were travelling in foreign parts." 

" I didn't see you in Chudleit^fh," said 
George, still very stiff. The two men did 
not take to each other, but Simpson was 
more successful in concealing his feelings, 
whatever they may have been, than my 
lad. 

" It's my opinion," he said, with an at- 
tempt at jocularity, tapping George on the 
breast, and giving him a wink, " that 5'ou're 
a gay Lothario, a regular Don Ju-an." 

" Begging your pardon, Mr. Simpson," said 
George, with a frown, " I don't care to joke 
about ladies." 

"Very proper," said the unabashed 
Simpson. " I take off my hat to them — 
and to you, young Mr. Millington. No 
disrespect, upon my honour as a gentleman. 
It's a pleasure thrown in, so to speak, to find 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT Of IT, 131 

oneself suddenly in the presence of the pi>;ture 

of a young person " 

'* Of a young lady," corrected George. 
" Of a young lady who lives in the same 
house as I do. Show me a prettier face, 
young Mr. Millington, and I'll be bound to 
dispute it with you." Then he hummed an 
air, and ssliu^ a line of a sonf' commencincr 
with " Woman, dear woman." 

Perceiving George's displeasure I i)ut a 
stop to the awkward episode bv sayino-, 
" Come along. Tea is waiting for us." 

" And I am waiting for it," said Simpson, 
seatino" himself with assumed ijenialitv. 

He did full justice to the meal, conversin"" 
chiefly with me, for George scarcely opened 
his lips. He was nettled, and he took no 
trouble to disguise it. 

" We're going to a music hall," said 
Simpson, addressing him when he had had his 
fill. "Will you join us?" 

" No, thank you," said George, and I did 
not attempt to persuade him. 

Before we left the house T had a word 



132 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

with my lad, and lie confided to me 
his opinion that Simpson was an insuffer- 
able cad, in which I heartily agreed with 
him. 

"We shan't see anything more of him 
after to-night," I said. " He was rather 
useful to me in Chudleigh, and I've got to put 
up with him for an hour or two." 

George threw his arm around my shoulder, 
and said, " All right, dad. It takes all sorts 
to make a world. Mr. Simpson's not one of 
my sort, that's all." 

" Xor one of mine, m}^ boy," I said, and 
with an affectionate hand-shake I went out 
with Simpson, 

" That's not a bad little pitch of yours, 
Millington," said he, patronisingly, hooking 
his arm in mine. " Could put up with it 
myself. It wants just one piece of furniture 
to make it complete." 

" And what may that be ? " I inquired. 

" A trim little wife," replied Simpson, and I 
inwardly blessed my stars that George was 
not with us. 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 133 

"I'm past that," I said. "Too old to 
marry." 

"Ob, I don't mean you. I was thinking 
of your George. Lucky young dog ! I say 
— is it a settled thing between him and 
pretty Eachel ? " 

" Can you keep a secret ? " I asked. 

" Yes." 

" So can I." 

Whereupon Simpson burst out laughing, 
and vowed, as he had vowed before, that he 
was no match for me. I found him a trvinf^ 
companion ; at every third or fourth public- 
house he made a pause, and invited me to 
drink, and u})on my steadfastly refusing, 
drank alone. I thought it rather cool of 
him to tell me after his second glass that it 
was my turn to stand treat, and upon my 
demurring he argued the point with me, con- 
tending that we had agreed to pay equal 
shares in the expenses of the night's pleasures. 
When i pointed out to him that, so far as the 
emptying of glasses at public-house bars was 
concerned, he was having those pleasures to 



134 THE MAECir Ob' FATE, 

himself, he replied that that was not his 
fault ; there was the liquor, and there the 
opportunity ; to which he added the inquiry 
whether I did not consider his society worth 
something. He insisted upon our going to a 
music hall, and upon remaining till the per- 
formances were at an end. At a quarter to 
twelve we found ourselves in the streets, I 
steadying my companion, who was by this 
time in a very maudlin condition. He had 
extracted from me the promise that I would 
see him home, wherever that might be, and it 
is seldom I have had a more unpleasant task. 
He shed tears, he abused everybody, he swore 
that his feehngs had been imposed upon, 
he proclaimed war against those who had 
betrayed him. 

" They had better take care," he said, 
*' every man Jack of them, and every woman 
Jack as well — no, woman's a Jill. I know a 
thing or two worth money. They had better 
take care ! " 

" Hold up," I said. 

" Hold up yourself. Why, there's them a.* 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 135 

calls themselves gentlemen, and them as calls 
themselves ladies — wliat are they ? No better 
than I am. There's names I could mention, 
and things I could tell about them, that 
they'd give something to keep hushed up. 
Who said hush up ? " 

" You did." 

" I didn't. It was you. Millington, you're 
no better than I won't say what. There's 
men as calls themselves masters, and men 
they call servants. Deny it if you can." 

" I don't deny it." 

"Very well, then. They'd better look 
out." 

Thought I to myself, " If Barlow were in 
my place he would worm something useful 
out of Simpson." But I did not try, being 
heartily sick of him. 

" I know a secret or two, Millinuton," he 
said. 

" I daresay." 

"I won't let on, unless they drive me to it, 
and they've been near it more than once. 
Butter vour bread Millino'ton, and butter it 



136 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

thick. What can you sa}' agamst that, 3'ou 
sly dog ? " 

" Nothino-." 

" If I had some people's money I'd make a 
show in the world. What I say is, make 
everything equal, give every man a chance. 
I won't speak against young George " 

" You had better not." 

" Didn't I say I wouldn't ? But why 
should some men have eyevj woman, and 
leave other men as good as themselves out in 
the cold ? It's an unfair division. There'll 
be a riot some day, and then they'll know aU 
about. Where are you shoving to ? " 

He had stumbled ai>'ahist two o'entlemen 
who were passing us arm in arm. They 
turned and looked at us, and I recognized 
Mr. Haldane and Mr. Louis Eedwood. I do 
not know whether they recognized me ; I 
wheeled Simpson aside, and they did not 
accost us, but the chance encounter did not 
add to my comfort ; my apparently con- 
fidential association with Simpson could easily 
have been interpreted into treachery. 



SIMPSON MAKES A NIGHT OF IT. 137 

" Did you see who those jfentlemen were ? " 

*/ CD 

I asked. 

"I didn't, and I don't care " 

" They were your master and Mr. Red- 
wood. You'll hear somethinfj of this to- 
morrow." 

" Shall I ? Who cares ? A\lien IVe got a 
night off I do what I like with it. Perhaps 
he'll discharge me, perhaps he won't. I defy 
him. That for my master ! " 

He snapped his fingers, and I was well 
pleased presently when, getting entangled in 
a crowd gathered to witness a nifrht brawl, 
the opportunity was afforded me of giving 
Simpson the slip. His subsequent adventures 
on this night were no aflliir of mine. I should 
have been delighted to hear that they had 
ended in the lock-up. 



CHAPTEK XXVI. 

HONOKIA MAKES HER EEAPPEAE ANCE . 

Mr. Barlow being anxious that I should omit 
none of my experiences in connection with 
this history, I have at his request added 
another chapter, which will be my last. 

During the six months that elapsed after 
my " night out " with Simpson I saw nothing 
more of him. There was a sufficient reason 
for our not meeting. He and his master had 
gone abroad, and for the most part of this 
time remained out of England. I did not 
pay another visit to Chudleigh Park. Miss 
Haldane wrote to me once about Honoria, 
but I had no news to communicate, and I 
replied to that effect. These were the only 
letters that passed between us. George, of 
course, kept up his correspondence with 
Eachel Diprose, but their marriage appeared 
as far off as ever. It did not lessen m}^ lad's 



HONOKIA MAKES HER KEAPPEAIIANCE. 139 

love for liis sweetheart, nor, as her letters 
proved, hers for him. From these letters I 
gathered that Miss Haldane's life at Chud- 
leigh Park was rather lonely. She received 
no visits, and paid none, a sign that she had 
made no friendships of an enduring nature 
among those of her station. Once only did 
George go to Chudleigh, to see Eachel ; he 
spent a Sunday there, and stopped at the 
" Brindled Cow " ; that he did not go again 
was due to Eachel, who thought it best that 
he should keep away — for her young mistress' 
sake, I believe. I took the blame of this 
upon myself. George was ni}* son, and as I 
was not in favour with Mr. Haldane my lad's 
appearance in Chudleigh might have been 
misconstrued. 

" You will be an old man, and Eachel an 
old woman," I said to George, " before vou 
come together." 

" Not quite that, I hope, dad," said George. 
" Things will be all right before long." 

I did not have much faith in long engage- 
ments, and so I hinted to George ; but he 



140 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

appeared to be satisfied that notliing could 
occur to prevent him and Eachel being true 
to each other. 

" She is worth waiting for," he said, " and 
it's no use frettino-." 

Mr. Barlow also was at a standstill ; he had 
made no further progress in the affair upon 
which he was emrao-ed, for although he made 
no fresh discoveries he was still in commis- 
sion. It was his opinion that Mr. Haldane 
had left England to escape detection. I re- 
marked that if this were the case Mr. Haldane 
must have had some suspicion that an enemy 
was working' ajjainst him. Mr. Barlow con- 
curred, saj'ing that something must have 
reached Mr. Haldane's ears which put him 
on his guard. My old partner paid me 
regular visits, which George and I returned. 
He and his wife had grown very fond of 
George, and about once a week we all took 
supper together, at Barlow's house or mine. 
On one of these nights, when we walking 
from his house, Barlow> who liked a little 
walk after supper, being with us, he asked 



IIONORIA MAKES HER REAPPEARANCE. 141 

me if I had anything particular to do to- 
morrow. I answered, nothing, 

"•I want you to spend an hour witli me," 
he said. " Come to the office between two 
and three." 

I presented myself accordingh' and we 
turned from Surrey Street into the Strand, 
and there took a 'bus to the Marble Arch. 
I may mention that it was the height of the 
season, and London was very gay, by reason 
of a Royal visit, which set society circles in a 
flutter. 

"I am going," said Mr. Barlow, "to take 
you to Eotten Eow. 

" Anything special going on there ? '' I 
asked. 

" We shall see," was his reply. 

This was enigmatical, but I knew that 
Barlow seldom did anything special without 
a special reason. In the 'bus he volunteered 
another piece of information. 

" Mr. Eedwood is in London," he said. 

" And Mr. Haldane ? " I inquired. 

" I cannot say, but it is very likely." 



142 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Arrivini^ at Eotten Eow we found a o-ood 
place by the rails, and watclied the panorama 
of fashion as it passed by and repeated itself 
on horseback and in carriages. 

" It is a favourite pastime of mine," said 
Mr. Barlow. " I like to see the swells doing 
duty." 

" There are plenty of them," I said, 
"who don't seem to be enjoying themselves 
much." 

" It is a sad pleasure to many," said Mr. 
Barlow, " especially to the carriage swells ; 
but it is a duty they owe to society to show 
themselves. Look at that lot." 

There were three elderly ladies in the turn- 
out, and unutterable weariness reigned on 
their faces, which were worn and pasty with 
late nights. I smiled, and said I would 
sooner be what I was. 

" Bunkum," observed Mr. Barlow. " If 
you were a swell you would do likewise." 

It did not escape me that all the time we 
were talking he appeared to be looking out 
for something not in the common way, and a 



HONORIA MAKES HER REAPPEARANCE. 143 

sudden lighting up of his features revealed to 
me that it was approaching. In a handsome 
victoria, the appointments of whicli were 
absolutely faultless, sat a young lady, who as 
she came closer to us, caused the blood to 
rush into my face. 

" Ah," said Mr. Barlow, who was observing 
me closely as the victoria approached. 

" Barlow," I cried, seizing his arm, " you 
remember my telling you about the girl 
Honoria I brought to London from Chudleigh 
Park ? " 

" Perfectly," he replied. " I don't forget 
much." 

" I could swear," I said, " that the very 
o-irl is siltiniT in that carria^^e." 

" Wait till she comes round again," said 
Barlow. 

I strained my e3'es till I saw her in the 
distance. She was richly dressed, and leaned 
back in her carriage with the born negligent 
air of a lady of fashion. That one so 
beautiful should attract universal attention 
was not surprising ; and indeed she was very 



144 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

beautiful. No trace of despair was on her 
face, which bore the expression of one 
accustomed to admiration. Hats were raised 
to her, and now and again a mounted cavalier 
carolled by her side, and exchanged saluta- 
tions. Some she received graciously, some 
coldly, but even in her graciousness there 
was an air of disdain and power to which all 
appeared to submit. No lad}^ saluted or 
acknowledged her, but I noticed that most of 
them looked furtively, even admiringly at 
her. As she passed us the second time she 
happened to turn her eyes in my direction. 
They rested on my face, but there was no 
sign of recognition, although she gazed at 
me steadily. 

" Well ? " questioned Barlow. 

" It is Honoria," I said. 

"It is the name she is known by," said 
Barlow. " That is why I asked you to 
accompany me to-day." 

I sighed, thinking of Miss Ilaldane. " And 
tliis is what she has come to," I said. 

"Yes," said Barlow. " She has the world 



HO.NORIA MAKES HER EEAPrEAKANCE. 145 

at her feet, this girl whom you saved from 
drowning in the lake of lilies." 

We lingered by the rails till she came 
round a third time, and again her eyes 
travelled in my direction, and rested a 
moment upon me, as before. My presence 
did not appear to discompose her ; she was 
as completely self-possessed and composed as 
if we had never met. 

"Come and have a cut of mutton with 
me," said Barlow, an hour or so later, " at 
the namesake of a friend of yours in the 
Strand." 

We strolled to Simpson's, and had a good 
old-fashioned English dinner there, and after- 
wards went to a theatre where they were 
playing a rattling farce, mis-called comedy. 
Strangely enough — it is always so ; it never 
rains but it pours — in the principal box sat 
Honoria, dressed with elegant taste, with 
flashing diamonds upon her. We were in 
the pit, and had a good view of her box, in 
which, between the acts, appeared a suc- 
cession of gentlemen swells. I saw but little 
A'OL. n. 25 



14G THE MAECH OF FATE. 

of the farce, my attention being centred upon 
this girl, once so low, now so shamefully high. 

"Let us get another peep at her," said 
Barlow, when the curtain finally fell. 

We hurried to the lobby entrance of the 
stalls where the visitors were waitinor for 
their carriages, and where I witnessed a 
comedy, as unexpected as Honoria's appear- 
ance in Rotten Row earlier in the day. As 
she came out to her carriage, leaninsf on the 
arm of a gilded youth. Barlow nudged me 
smartly, and there, to my surprise, was Mr. 
Louis Redwood, crazin"; at the o-irl he had 
betrayed. He hesitated only a moment, and 
then, with a confident air, with outstretched 
hand, and with a smile upon his face, 
advanced towards her. She gazed at him 
with superb disdain, and without bestowing 
any further attention upon him, turned her 
back upon him. Li another moment she was 
in her carriage, and the smile on Mr. 
Redwood's face vanished. The " cut direct " 
had been perfect, and people were laughing 
at him. 



HONORIA MAKES HER REAPPEARANCE. 147 

Barlow and I talked of the incident as we 
walked away, and I expressed my surprise at 
Mr.- Redwood's eagerness to be friendly with 
Honor ia. 

" Know the world Ijetter, old friend," said 
Barlow. " The girl is a marv^el of beauty, 
and men of loose fashion are running wild 
after her." 

" Yes," I said, " it is her ])eauty that made 
him so eager," 

" Wrong once more," said Barlow. " It is 
not her beauty that attracts him now. We 
run after the unattainable ; we despise what 
is easily obtained ; we value things more or 
less, not for what they are, but for the ease 
or the difficulty in getting hold of them. If 
the girl were as ugly as sin it would be the 
same to Mr. Eedwood. She is a rare 
commodity, and he sighs for possession. 
You are familiar with a little fish called the 
sprat ? " 

"Of course I am." 

" A most deUcate, most appetizing fish, but 
being plentiful can be bought for a penny a 

25* 



148 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

pound. Make them as scarce as red mullet, 
and the world would rave after them. As it 
will one day after Honoria, if she plays her 
cards well." 

I make no comment on this scrap of philo- 
sophy. My task is ended, and I lay down my 
pen. 



U\K ZTbirt) XinlJ— jfasbionc^ ot Xcttcrs 
Mrittcii b\? Xovcrs an^ jfricn^s, false aiiD 

Ilrue, 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

LETTERS. 

From Frederick Palmer, Danedin, Otago, New 
Zealand, to G. Palmer, Esq., We'<tminster 
Palace road, London. 
My Dear Father, — 

Mv last, and first, letter written to 
you from Australia was necessarily short, 
because I had just one hour to make up my 
mind whether I would accompan}- a friend I 
made on the passage out, wdio, hearing of the 
discovery of gold in New Zealand,* urged 

* It may be necessary to state that Frederick is not 
chronologicall)- correct in his reference to the discovery of 
gold in New Zealand, but this is a license of which a 
writer of fiction may legitimately avail himself. 

— The Authoe. 



150 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

upon me that it was just the place in which 
fame and fortune could be quickly won. I 
allowed myself to be persuaded. Here was a 
new land, with new opportunities and 
glowing possibilities waiting for me. " Done 
with you," I said, and an hour later we were 
on board the Eureka — what a name ! it was 
an augury of success — with four or live 
hundred other adventurers, bent on the same 
errand as myself. Only I had a special 
motive which others lacked to spur me on, 
the love of the sweetest girl that ever drew 
breath since Eve roamed with Adam through 
the groves of Paradise. I see you, dear old 
fellow, shaking your head, and sighing, 
" Dreams, Fred, dreams ! Will you never 
awake ? " And I answer, " No, never." 
Why ? Because I am not dreaming, because 
I hold fast to Hope, the fairy that touches 
reality with golden light, that shows me the 
road to the future, when you, and I, and one 
whom I devotedly love, will be living together 
the happy life. Father mine, what made you 
a painter and a poet ? The solid, serious 



LETTERS. 151 

view of a man's life and ambition, or that 
very fairy Hope which, with the higher spirit 
Ambition, directed you into paths which 
made you what you are? You lost your 
fortune. Well, I am going to make another 
for you and her. The diary I kept on the 
passage from England to Australia, and 
which I sent you with my first brief letter 
will show whether I lost courage on the way ; 
and let me say now that I am stouter-hearted 
than ever, and that though my pockets are 
poorly lined, I am confident that what you 
call dreams will at no distant day be proved 
to be realities. I am coming back to you 
when my fortune is made. I am coming 
back to her I love ; years of delight and 
happiness are before us ; arm in arm, and 
heart in heart, we shall talk of the harvest 
the wanderer has reaped for those near and 
dear to him, and you shall say, " Well done, 
Fred ; you were right and 1 was wrong — 
happily so." 

Now, arriving in Dunedin safe and sound, 
the question was what should I do? The 



152 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

pilot who boarded us and conveyed us into 
Port Chalmers had set the whole ship in a 
state of excitement by reports of wonderful 
discoveries of new goldfields. Transferred at 
Port Chalmers into a small steam tug that took 
us through the loveliest bay in the world to 
Dunedin jetty, the news was confirmed. As 
for scenery I cannot describe it ; my sketch 
book is filled with themes for future work — 
and glory — to say nothing of the gold pieces 
which will roll in to sweeten success. A 
picturesque tumbledown wooden jetty, to be 
replaced one day by a stately stone structure 
(for I see the grand future already looming), 
crowds of people burning with the gold fever, 
wooden shanties hastily thrown up to transact 
business in, the old Scotch settlers scarcely 
knowing whether to approve or not of the 
invasion of heterogeneous human particles, 
but at the same time, with proverbial wisdom, 
turning the honest penn}^ and making hay 
while the sun shines, adventurers bronzed 
with travel discussing the chances in the 
unformed street, the continual animated 



LETTERS. 153 

going to and fro, the loading of drays, the 
clattering of horses, the i)er,spective glimpses 
of civilization's soldiers marching over the 
distant hills — imagine all this, and paint 
pictures from it. But a man's eyes must 
behold these scenes to properly depict 
them. They are like a page of old time 
history, full of romance and colour. Said 
the friend in whose company I journeyed 
hither, " Off we go to morrow morning to the 
goldfields ; in six months we come back with 
our fortunes made." ]3ut pride and prudence 
stepped in and whispered in my ear. Said 
prudence, " How can you start on such a 
journey Avith empty pockets ? '" Said pride, 
" Don't humiliate yourself by a confession of 
poverty." Therefore spake I to my friend, 
" I cannot accompan}- you ; here in this 
primitive city of wonders will I stay awhile, 
and rest my weary feet, and refresh my spirit, 
and strengthen my body for future toil." 
(What have you to say, father, to the style 
biblical ? Does it sit well on me ?) My friend 
remonstrated, argued, pressed, but I was 



154 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

firm, and away lie went, the nomad, in com- 
pany with a hundred or two others, straight 
in the eye of the sun. I to a newspaper 
office and there enUsted for a pound a day. 
So behold me, a budding journalist, bent on 
work and shekels. Here I have been three 
weeks, and am sixty shillings the richer, after 
paying board and lodging — no joke, though 
mutton is two-pence a pound. Humph ! 
Rather a lugubrious outlook. But this is 
only a beginning. When you build you must 
commence with sinoie bricks. Two water- 
colors are near completion, and the next 
question will be to find purchasers. Are 
there art worshippers here, rich patrons eager 
to draw large cheques as an evidence of the 
weddincf of orindinof commerce and intellec- 

Do D 

tual refinement and taste ? The landlord of 
the principal hotel, who boasts of taking 
a thousand pounds a day across his bars, 
suggests a raffle. By the Beard of Venus 
which never grew, am I descended so low ? 
But why should I fume ? Are there not art 
lotteries in England, and what is a lottery 



LETTERS. 155 

but a rafHe ? It is a distinction without a 
difierence. We must not be over nice in 
these new lands. The mail for dear home 
does not go out for twelve days, and before it 
closes I shall be able to tell you the result of 
my first art-labor in this world-end Arcadia. 
I break oil' my letter here, and go to bed, to 
dream of you and my dear Agnes. 

Now to fniish my letter, dear old fellow, 
the mail closing to-morrow morning. The 
raffle has come of!'. There was more than a 
spice of grim humour in it. The pictures 
were hung in the public room of the hotel, 
flanked by a couple of hideous German 
chromos. Said I to myself, said I, "My 
paintings will teach those honest barbarians, 
will educate them, will prepare them for 
future works of c'lorv." Puffed up with un- 
becoming pride, I lingered in the public room 
of the hotel, to take a lesson from the critical 
opinions of entranced admirers. The pic- 
tures were scarcely glanced at. " We'll wake 
them up," said my friend and landlord, and 
beneath the great achievements was placed a 



156 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

placard with a written intimation that the 
first original local paintings by an eminent 
artist would be raffled on Saturday night at 
half-a-crown a chance. I remonstrated with 
the landlord, who had put up the placard 
without consultino' me. " What do vou 
object to," he asked. "To the low terms of 
subscription," I replied, employing the most 
dignified phrase that occurred to me. " Quite 
enough," said the landlord. " Look at those 
pictures " — pointing to the hideous German 
chromos — " can you compare them with 
yours ? " " jSTo," said I honestly, " I cannot." 
" More can I," said the landlord, " and they 
only cost me four pound a pair." Well, the 
raffle came off. Contemplate the figures. 
Forty subscribers at half a crown a head 
come to exactly five pounds. The frames for 
the pictures cost me fifty shillings ; " treating " 
the subscribers on the eventful night, three 
pounds six shillings ; total debt, five pounds 
sixteen shillings ; total loss, sixteen shillings ; 
and my meritorious paintings. " But you've 
made a start," said the landlord, congratulat- 



LETTERS. 157 

inff me on the venture. Truly I have. Fare- 
well art awhile. I must come down to earth, 
for this rate of progress resembles the man 
walking on ice who for every step forward 
slides two backward 

Now, my dear father, I want you to let me 
know all about my dear Agnes — how she is, 
what she says, how she looks, et cetera, et 
cetera, et cetera. What does she think of 
my diary of the passage across the seas ! 
Heavens ! What a waste of water divides 
us! But I look forward, I look forward, 
and am not in the least discouraged. As 
you know, I have bound myself to write to 
her only once in every six months, and the 
first term is not yet expired. There is nothing 
to prevent you sending her my letters to you, 
and she will know from them that my love is 
unchansed, that it can never change, and that 
the one dear hope of my life is to call her 
wife. Tell her that I am going to be practical. 
Fortunes are being made on the goldfields. I 
shall go there, and make one for her. Then 
I can ask her father for his consent to our 



158 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

union, which I cannot do, with any chance of 
success, while I remain poor. I have the 
fullest faith in her, as she has in me. God 
bless her, and you, my dear father. Address 
your letters to the post office in this city, 

Your affectionate son, 

Frederick. 

From G. Palmer, Westminster Palace road, 
London, to Frederick Palmer, Esq., Post 
Office, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. 

My dear Boy, 

Your two letters, one from Australia, 
the other from Xew Zealand, with the diary 
you kept on the passage out, have been safely 
delivered, and I reply to them by the first 
opportunity, I sent them to Miss Haldane, 
Chudleigh Park, under cover to Miss Eachel 
Diprose, in accordance with your directions, 
and I have received them back, with a note 
from Agnes, in which she sends you as many 
kind messages as the fondest lover could 
desire. She says she is well, and she writes 
as you do, cheerfully and hopefully, but I 



LETTERS. 159 

have no means of discovering how she looks. 
Mr. Ilaldane and I are cousins, it is true, ])ut 
as wide as the waste of waters between you 
and home is the gulf between him and me. 
To go to Chudleigh Park without an invita- 
tion would be courting an affront, and would 
not advance your cause. You know how 
fully and completely I sympathize w^ith you 
in your hopes of the future, and I shall say 
nothing to cast a shadow on them. Your 
account of the two pictures you painted is 
amusing, and you are wise in your resolution 
to throw aside the brush, and to engage in 
those pursuits in which money is most easily 
made. With my own example before me, I 
should have given you a commercial educa- 
tion, which would have made you fitter for 
your present career. However, like you, I 
hope for the best. I am painting two pictures 
for the Academy ; is not that a proof that I 
have still with me Uope, your fairy, and that 
I do not intend to beat a retreat from the 
ranks in which many better men than I are 
strugcfling ? Cherish that fairy, my dear boy 



160 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

— always open your arms and your heart to 
it ; whatever the result, it will brighten your 
days and nerve 3'our arm. How well I re- 
member m}^ first Academy picture ! It is a 
good many years ago, and I can count on my 
fingers the number of my pictures that have 
tcained admission since that time. I have told 
you the story often — how it was sold, how I 
used to walk the streets with a light heart, 
thinking that / liad painted the picture of 
which some influential papers spoke highly, 
and that a few of the persons who passed me 
might possibly know that I was the artist. I 
never sold another picture off the Academy 
walls, but I am waiting, my boy, I am waiting, 
and 3^ou or I will make a fortune yet. Am I 
not writing to 3'ou with an airy spirit ? Ah ! 
but my dear lad, you little know how I miss 

you. But there, I am not going to say a 

word to sadden you ; better burn the letter 
than send it to my wanderer across the seas. 
Until you went away I used to grumble at 
time passing so quickly, but now it cannot 
pass too quickly for me, for it will hasten the 



LETTERS. IGl 

day of our reunion. Everybody wlio knows 
you inquires after you and sends you the 
kindest messages. God bless and speed you ! 

Your loving father, 

G. Palmer. 

From Frederick Palmer, Otago, New Zealand, 
to Miss Haldane, under cover to Miss Rachel 
Diprose, Manor Hall, Chudlelgh Park. 

Mv DARLING Agnes, 

At last the first six months are over, 
and I can write to you. I wonder sometimes 
how it was that I gave you the promise to 
write only once in every six months, and then 
my wonder vanishes when I think it was 
because you asked me, fearing that if I wrote 
frequently it might set your father against me 
before the day arrived when I shall feel myself 
warranted to ask his consent to our union. 
My dear Agnes, I think of you day and night, 
and it is your dear image that cheers my 
lonely hours and sustains my courage. You 
have heard from my father of my unpromising 
start, which had something comical in it, and 

VOL. IL 26 



162 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

of my determination to seek fortune on the 
goldfields. Here am I, then, in my digger 
garb, with beard well grown, and so unlike 
my London self, that were von to meet me in 
the street you would hardly recognize me. 

Now, what shall I say to you, my darling 

girl — I, upon whom fickle fortune has not yet 

smiled ? I am in a Tom Tiddler's ground, 

and every day I hear of men drawing grand 

prizes. It will be my turn one day ; it must 

be my turn, for I have you and love on my 

side, and the charm will be sure to succeed. 

The truth, then, is, my darling, that I am no 

richer at this moment than when I first set 

foot on these shores. I am in good health, 

and I do not intend to lose heart. Up early 

in the morning, working till sunset, whispering 

your dear name as a charm, and s^oinEf to 

sleep with your image in my mind. I have a 

comrade, and we manage to find enough gold 

to keep us, but there is the chance every hour 

of finding a bisf nugfg:et or strikin<y a " rich 

patch." It is only a matter of time : the 

longer good fortune is a-coming, the brigliter 



LETTERS. 163 

is her smile when she shows her face. And I 
woo her, and woo her, and whisper to the 
invij>ible goddess, " For my dear girl's sake, 
come, now, for the sake of the dearest, dearest 
girl in the world ! " I give you my word that I 
utter these words in my most coaxing accents, 
and that I "o to work a^ain refreshed and 
streniTfthened bv them, with the conviction 
that my pleadings will not be in vain. We 
live in a tent like the patriarchs of old, a 
fitting simile, for at no very great distance 
from us is a sheep and cattle station where I 
am always welcome — I walk there sometimes 
of a Sunday, a matter of twelve miles, easily 
done on the soft bush roads in three hours — 
the owner of which, an Oxford man like myself, 
is master of seventy thousand sheep. As I 
gaze upon his enormous flocks I think of 
biblical days when Jacob wooed Eebecca, but 
I do not want to wait so long for my dear 
girl. Words are poor to express all I feel ; 
dearly as I loved you when I left England, I 
love vou still more dearlv now. You are my 

«/ «/ V 

good genius, my good angel, ever by my side. 

26* 



1C4 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

I walk with you through the woods, I sit on 
a fallen tree and talk to you, your spirit is in 
my heart. Think of me always as your true 
and faithful lover, who never lays his head 
upon his pillow without thanking God for the 
priceless blessing of your love. My dear girl, 
does your father know ? Have ^'ou told him 
yet? Keep nothing from me. He cannot 
object to me on the score of birth ; it is only 
that dreadful bugbear, money, money, money. 
I will work and wait for it, and you shall 
hear from me that our wishes are realized. 
Do not doubt it, darling. I do not. With 
undying affection, believe me, ever your 
faithful lover, 

Frederick. 



Fr-orn Agnes Ilaldane, Chudleigh Park, to 
Frederick Palmer, New Zealand. 

My dearly Beloved, 

Your letter made me happy, so 
happy ! I have read it so many times that I 
must know it by heart, but I keep on reading 
it, for it brings you nearer to me. Be sure, 



LETTERS. 165 

my dear, whether you are absent for a long 
or a short time, I will be true to you, 
and- will wait for you — yes, till I am an old, 
old woman. I ought to tell you, dear, but 
you nmst nut distress yourself about it, for 
nothing can change me. There is a gentle- 
man who has been here a great deal, and 
papa would be glad if I encouraged his atten- 
tions. His name is Mr. Louis liedwood, and 
I do not like him, though papa wishes me to. 
I only tell you of him because I think it right 
you should know all that takes place. And 
now you must know something else. I have 
been considering" a certain thin«4 lately, and 
when papa comes home (he has been abroad 
some time) I .shall tell him all about you and 
me. I feel that I am acting wrongly in keep- 
ing our secret from him ; it is my fault, I 
know, that this was not done at first, but I 
was a little afraid of the way papa would take 
it. Seeing now what it is right to do, I shall 
have the courai^e to do it, and I am sure vou 
wall approve. Well, now, this is all about 
myself, and nothing about you. What a 



166 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

wonderful life you are living, and how strange 
it must all seem to you ! I get all the books 
I can about Austraha and New Zealand, and 
I know a great deal now about those 
countries. Eachel Diprose, my maid — such 
a good girl ! — has an uncle there, and she 
says it is a sjolendid life, though she is all for 
London, where she has never been, but where 
her sweetheart lives. He is ready and anxious 
to marry her, but the good, foohsh girl will 
not hear of it. She will not leave me, she 
says (unless I turn her away and I shall never 
do that), until I am married. It is not of the 
slightest use to argue with her ; she has made 
up her mind and has passed her word, and 
she says she will die rather than break it. If 
I needed a lesson in firmness, which I don't, 
dear, she would teach it to me. I hardly 
know whether this letter will satisfy you ; but 
perhaps you will be satisfied when I say that 
I am yours, and yours onlv, and that vou 
may be sure I shall never love you less than 
now. My mind is easier now that I have 
determined to tell papa everything when I see 



T.KTTERS. 167 

him. Good-b^■e for a little wliik-, dear 
Frederick. I pray for you always, I think of 
yoU' always. 

With constant love, 

1 am ever yours, 

Agnes. 

To Mr. G Pidiner, Westminster Palace road, 
from ^fr. TTaJdane, Manor Hall, Chudleigh 
Park. 

Sir, — 

Information has reached me that 
your son, ^Ir. Frederick Palmer, has taken 
advantage of my absence during mv daucihter's 
visits to London to pay his addresses to her 
without ni}' knowledge or sanction. Such 
conduct is scandalous and unljecoming a 
gentleman, and hearing of it now for the first 
time I write to you without an hour's delay 
to put a stop to the proceeding. I understand 
that your son is in one of the Australian 
colonies, and that he has had the presumption 
to open up a correspondence with my 
daughter. If I were acquainted with his 



168 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

precise address I should write to him direct, 
to the same effect as I am writing to you, and 
I demand his address from you in order that 
I ma}' express to him my opinion of his con- 
duct. You, as a father, will not contest my 
right to views in which my daughter's welfare 
is concerned, and to the carrying of them out 
in the way I deem most suitable. Expecting 
to receive from you your son's address in the 
colonies, and your concurrence that the clan- 
destine intimacy shall instantly cease, 
I am, your obedient servant, 

C. Haldane. 

To C. Haldane Esq., Manor Hall, Chudleigh 
Park, from Mr. G. Palmer, Westminster 
Palace road. 

Sir,— 

I am in receipt of your letter, the 
contents of which I will communicate to my 
son. From the relationship between us, and 
my standing in society, though far from a 
rich man, I might reasonably have expected 
that you would have expressed yourself in 



LETTERS. 169 

different terms, and I shall certainly not afford 
you the opportunity of addressing my son in 
like -manner. Therefore I refuse to give you 
his precise address. But as many weeks must 
elapse before he can hear what you have 
written to me upon a matter as im])ortant and 
dear to him as it is to you, I lose no time in 
correcting j'our opinion of his character. 
My son is a gentleman, upright, honourable, 
and dehcate-minded, and that you should 
pronounce his conduct " scandalous " reflects 
no credit upon you. That he loves your 
daughter as a gentleman, and hopes to win 
her, is true, and the only bar I can perceive 
to the happy result of an honourable attach- 
ment is the difference in our circumstances. 
If, notwithstanding^ vour letter, it should be 
his happy fate to be united to your daughter, 
I, who know mv son as no other man 
knows him, and who knows something of 
the sweet and amiable qualities of your 
child, have no hesitation in declaring that 
their happiness would be assured. It is best 
that I shall sav no more. Time, which 



170 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

tries all, is a beneficent healer, and I place 
my hope in it. 

Faithfully yours, 
G. Palmer. 

To Mr. G. Palmer, Westminster Palace road, 
from Mr. Haldane, Manor Hall, Chudleigh 
Park. 

Sir, — 

Your reply to my letter is imperti- 
nently worded, and is intended as an insult. 
I shall know how to guard myself and 
daughter from its implied defiance to my 
wishes. You refuse to give me your son's 
address ; I will obtain it from my daughter. 
You are a dealer in sentiment and cant, and 
your son doubtless takes after you. 

Y^our obedient servant, 

C. Haldane. 



LETTERS. 171 

To C. llaldane, Esq., Manor Hall, Chudleigh 
Pari; from Mr. (1 . Palmer, Westminster 
Palace road. 

Sir, — 

Letters addressed to my son at the 
Post Office, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, 
will reach him in that colony. 

Faithfully yours, 
G. Palmer. 



Wlk-Q^ 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

LETTERS CONTINUED . 

From G. Palmer, London, to Frederick 
Palmer, New Zealand . 

My Dear Boy, — 

The necessity of giving you pain 
is forced upon me. Enclosed you will find 
copies of four letters, two addressed to me by 
Mr. Haldane, and my replies thereto. I do 
not know if they will come upon you as a 
surprise ; you will certainly be unprepared, 
as I was, for Mr. Ilaldane's communications, 
and you must act the manly part, and meet 
them with a man's courage. The form in 
wdiich he expresses his sentiments is not a 
graceful one, but we will set that aside ; it 
shows that he is bitterly, strongly in earnest, 
and it proves him to be a hard, unfeeling 
gentleman. Here before us, my dear boy, is 
a battle of heads and hearts, and it has some- 
times happened that hearts have won. You 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 173 

will perceive from this remark that I do not 
advise you to lay down your arms : it is a 
serious matter for a dau<^hter to go against 
her father's wishes, but after all it rests with 
you and Agnes. If she sides with her father, 
vou have no alternative but to retire ; il" she 
says, " I will be true to you," then it will be 
for us to decide how to act in this grave 
crisis in two young lives. Kemember that 
you have always your father's love ; through 
weal and w^oe 1 am faithful to my dear 
boy. 

Ever your loving father, 

G. Palmer. 

From C. llaldane^ Manor Hall, Chadleigh 
Park, to Frederick Palmer, Dimedin, Otago, 
New Zealand. 

Sir, — 

I have with some difficulty obtained 
your address from your father, and I now 
write to you to express my opinion of j'our 
conduct in clandestinely following my 
daughter with your attentions, and in carry- 



174 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

ing on a correspondence with her without 
my sanction. 'No man of honour, no gentle- 
man, would pursue such a course, and I shall 
have no difficulty in exposing your true 
character to my child. In her name and 
my own I demand that you instantly cease 
writing to her or communicating with her in 
any way whatever. Should you presume to 
disregard my wishes I shall know how to deal 
with vou. 

Your obedient servant, 

C. H.ILDANE. 

From Agnes Hcddane, Chudleigh Park, to 
Frederick Palmer, New Zealand. 

My Dearest Frederick, — 

I write to you in great grief. Papa 
came home last week, and I told him all. 
My dear Frederick, there was a dreadful 
scene ; he spoke of you in a way that I could 
not listen to quietly, and I defended you ; 
but what could I say when he asked me if I 
considered it proper for a daughter to enter 
into such a serious engagement without the 



LETTERS COiNTINUED, 175 

knowledjxe or consent of her father ? He 
said I could make some amends for my fault 
by promising him that I would not marry 
without his consent. Even if I had not felt 
that I had acted wrongly I should have given 
him the promise ; and I was encouraged, too, 
because his passion seemed to be over. " It 
is a binding promise, remember," papa said, 
and I answered that I would keep to it. But 
0, dear Frederick, what have I done ? Papa 
says that he will never consent to our 
marriage, and now I am very unhappy, not 
only for myself but for you. I seem not to 
have a friend except my maid, Rachel, and 
she cannot do anything to help me. But can 
any one do that so long as papa is against 
us ? I can only hope that he will be kinder 
when he finds out that I cannot obey him. 
Dear Frederick, I seem to be doing wrong 
whichever way I act. Papa stands on one 
side of me and you on the other, and I am 
pulled both ways at once. I will be true to 
you, indeed, indeed I will, but if I had some 
one to counsel me I should feel happier. 



176 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

God bless you, dear Frederick. With all my 
love, believe me to be always yours, 

Agnes. 

From Frederick Palmer^ New Zealand, to C. 
Haldane, E.^^q., Manor Hall, Chudleigh 
Park. . 

Deae Sir, — 

I am in receipt of your letter, and I 
deeply regret the risk I run in adding to your 
displeasure when I sa}" I cannot comply with 
your desire. It was wrong, I admit, in the 
first instance, to enter into an engagement 
with your dear daughter without your know- 
ledge, but my sense of self-respect revolts 
against the opinion you express of my 
behaviour. I do not seek to excuse myself ; 
whatever blame attaches to this unhappy 
affair is mine alone ; but what I did was not 
deliberately done ; my feelings hurried me on 
until words were spoken which cannot be 
recalled. May I appeal, dear sir, to your 
recollections of yourself when you were 
young, when a man's judgment is the slave of 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 177 

his heart, and feehngs are involuntarily born 
witliin him which he cannot resist ? There is 
no di-irerenee in our rank, and I beg you to 
excuse nie when I say that money cannot 
confer distinrtion, I love 3'our daughter 
truly and devotedly, and it w^ould be the aim 
of my life to make her life happy. I have 
come to this distant land in the hope of 
bettering my fortune, so that I might be able 
to offer her a home beiittini? her station. 
Up to this day I have not been successful, 
but fortunes are being made all around me, 
and I have not lost the hope that brought me 
here. You ask me to give up your daughter, 
and with all respect to you my answer must 
be that I cannot do so unless she bids me. 
Sustained l)y the belief that her heart is mine 
I shall live on the hope that time may soften 
your feelings towards us, and that the 
happiness to which we look forward may yet 
be ours. 

I am, dear sir, faithfully yours, 

Frederick Pal:mer. 

VOL. II. 27 



IV8 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

From Frederick Palmer to Miss Haldaiie, 
under cover to Miss Rachel Diprose, Manor 
Hall, Chudleigh Park. 

My darling Agnes, 

What shall I say to you — how 
shall I write ? If it were not for the last 
lines in your dear letter I should despair, 
but while we are true to each other there 
must be light in the future which we may 
hope will shine upon us when our trials are 
happily ended. Your father wrote to me in 
anger, and I have replied to him, temper- 
ately I trust. My darling, I say to you what 
1 said to him — I cannot give you up unless 
you bid me. To spare you a sorrow I would 
sacrifice my life, and gladly would I take all 
this suffering upon myself if it were in my 
power. You say you seem not to have a 
friend except your good maid Eachel. Do 
you forget my father ? He is the noblest, 
the truest of men, and there is nothing you 
could call upon him to do that he would 
shrink from doing. Heaven forbid that I 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 179 

fslioukl counsel you against your father, that I 
should ask you to forget a daughter's duty. 
You* have promised him not to marry me 
Avithout his consent, and he should be content 
with this pi'omise, knowing that we must 
l)0t]i abide by it. The niiser\- of my 
position is tliat I am no farther adyanced 
than when I hrst landed in this colony. If I 
could go to him with fortune in my hands 
he would surely relent ; it is money only that 
separates us. Heaven will listen to our 
pra3'ers, for they spring from faithful hearts. 
If I could oidy be near you — if I could only 
see your dear face ! But I must not, I will 
not repine. I sometimes think, " If my dear 
girl were poor there would be no difficulty ; 
she would be equally dear to me." So that 
3'ou see there are circumstances in which 
poverty would prove a blessing. But it is 
useless speculating in this fashion ; what we 
have to contend with is not what might be, 
but what is, and I must be hird and 
practical, for your sake and mine. My 
darling, to the last hour of my life I will be 

27* 



ISO THE MARCH OF FATE. 

true and faithful to you. I shall ever be 
^vhat I was from the first moment I saw you. 

Your faithful lover, 

Fkederick. 

From Louis Eedmond, Esq., Queen Victoria 

Alansions, Westminster, London, to C. 

Ilaldane, Esq., Brevoorfs, New York, 
U. S. A. 

My dear Haldane, 

What the devil has sent }'ou off to 
America so suddenl}', and why did you not 
ask me to accompany you ? Here I am just 
arrived from Nice, after a cursed bad time at 
the tables (dropped eighteen thousand in 
three days ; very refreshing ! ), with a little 
imp in petticoats to make it w^orse, to find the 
Ilaldane bird flown without havinii^ the "race 
to offer the shelter of its wdngs to its best 
friend. But perhaps the said wing is shelter- 
ini;^ somethino;' more attractive than a man of 
the masculine gender. What is it, Ilaldane ? 
Another little affair ? At your age too ! I 
am ashamed of you. Didn't relish leavin"- 



LETTERS CONTl.N UEI). 181 

mv bullion behind me at Monte Carlo, and 
the aforesaid petticoated imp has been playin<; 
high jinks Avith yours truly. I'm tired of 
her tantrums and have made up my mind to 
settle down. This is leading up to what 
follows ; openiniz the case, as the lawyers 
say. 

Talking of lawyers, there it is, you see? 
I'm a devilish clever fellow to introduce the 
iirm so deftly. Laml) and Freshwater, 
Bedford Kow. We know those chaps weU ; 
they've made a fortune out of me and mine, 
but I must do them the justice to say that I 
never got into a difficult}' they didn't get me 
out of. But that's not the point, which is, 
mortgage. Chudleigh's a pretty place, but I 
don't want to foreclose. I'd sooner it fell to 
me in an amicable war, and for five weeks 
out of the fifty-two it would do, with the 
right sort of spirits about one. Xot a bit of 
good without a pretty hostess to do the 
honours. You're of a shrewd breed, and can 
guess what's coming. Fact is, I'm tired of 
waiting as the song says. 



182 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Lamb & Freshwater, the dear (the very 
dear) soHcitors, pointing to the mortgage 
deeds, murmur, " One hundred and twenty- 
thousand ! " which vou will admit is a sfood 
round sum, and insinuatingly ask me, " What 
is to be done ? " That's the rub, Ilaldane. 
Am I in want of the money ? Do my last 
pair of boots require soleing and heeling ? I 
think not. My thieving valet has not called 
my attention to the state of my wardrobe, so 
I infer I am still presentable. My bank 
book's all right, and the manager receives me 
with smiles. I am so beastly rich, you see. 
Then why do I lug in the trifling sum you 
owe me ? Xot the only account between us 
— excuse my mentioning it, but my back's 
up. I'm not going to be trifled with much 
longer. It wouldn't take the twentieth part 
of the time to tell you all this (and more to 
come) that it does in writing it down fairly 
and squarely, but if you will run away when 
you're wanted I'm bound to grind it out on 
paper. There's that other sum you want 
paid in to your bankers before the end of the 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 183 

half-year. I'm the most (complaisant fellow in 
the world ; I can spare it, and you shall have 
it, but you must give me, besides the 
moderate interest, another sort of (iniil pro 
quo. T want a sweet}', Ilaldane, and I 
want it all the more because it's been 
promised me so lonir, and as matters stand it 
is just as far off to-day as it was at the 
beijinninfT. (See Praver Book.) I am sick 
of playing patience. There's a ripe peacli on 
your wall, and I'm growing dangerously 
savage. Plain writing's the order of the day. 
Therefore, boon companion and friend of my 
soul, take timely heed. 

I cannot recollect that we have ever come 
to a perfectly formal understanding as to this 
very lovely and luscious ])eacli. In friendly 
conversation I have pointed to it and spoken 
about it, and your ])leasant answer has been 
" Gather it, my dear Louis ; I give it to you 
freely ; consider it yours." Consider it mine ! 
I have wooed it, coaxed it, tempted it, paid 
incense to it, prostrated myself before it, and 
there it hangs upon your wall for any hands 



184 THE MAECH OF FATE, 

to pluck when it is in the humour to say, " I 
am wiUing ; " but to me those words have 
never been spoken. My dear Haldane, you 
must put pressure upon your peach, you must 
exercise authorit}', or — take the consequences. 
In plain set terms I ask for your daughter's 
hand. It is yours to command, hers to obey, 
mine to worship and endow. Do not doubt 
tliat I am prepared to be very liberal in the 
settlements. A longer delay will be dan- 
gerous. Act instantly and hrmly, and your 
difficulties are over. AYe will kneel at your 
feet, and you shall give us your blessing. 
We shall make a pretty couple, and you 
will gain in me another child whose virtues 
you have already appreciated. My wife shall 
work you a pair of slippers, or buy them 
ready made, and in your old age you shall 
have a corner by our fireside. Could any 
man be more filial ? 

I must request you to reply to this letter 
without delay. Lamb & Freshwater are 
getting impatient, and a simple fellow like 
myself must submit to be guided by his legal 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 185 

advisers. If you take niv advice voii will 
come home very soon ; your presence may be 
required. Meanwhile I subscribe niAself, 
prospectively, 

Your dutiful son-in-law, 
Louis Eedwood. 

Cable message, from Ilaldane, New York, to 
Redwood, London. 
I write to my daughter by this mail, order- 
ing her to receive your addresses. Letter to 
3^ou, also, by this mail. Shall be home in 
four or five wrecks. 

From C. Ilaldane, Esq., New Yorl; to Louis 
Bedwood, Esq., London. 

My dear Louis, 

Were I inclined I niiglil object to 
the tone of your letter, but my feehngs for 
you are entirely friendly, and you should be 
satisfied by this time that you have my 
cordial consent to your proposal. Agnes is 
very young, and girls of her age are inclined 
to be co}^, therefore you must not be too 
impatient. I will leave it to your discretion 



186 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

to speak or write to her upon the receipt of 
this letter (I am writing to her by the same 
mail), or to wait till I return to England. 
You are generally inclined to follow your own 
bent, and I have no doubt you will do so in 
this instance ; therefore, I do not advise you. 
As to the money matters between us I rely 
upon the assurances you have given me that I 
shall not be pressed or harassed. I have 
had bad luck for a long time past, and for my 
son-in-law that is to be to play the Shylock 
would be infernally unfilial. Lamb & Fresh- 
water be hanged ; you are the captain of the 
ship. Eestrain your impatience, my dear 
Louis ; Eome was not built in a da}^ and 
your experience of women must have taught 
vou that thev are often difficult to manage. 
Pay that money in to my bank as soon as 
possible ; rolling in coin as you are, there 
can be no possible question of inconvenience. 
You luck}^ rake ! What would I not give to 
be in your shoes ? 

Yours truly, 

C. Haldane. 



LKITERS CONTINUED. 187 

From C. Ilaldane, Esq., New York, to Miss 
IfaUlane, Manor Hall, (Imdleujh Park. 

My dear Daughteh, — 

I am about to write to vou on a very 
serious matter, and you mu.st understand that 
I expect a dutiful compliance Avitli my wishes. 
After all I have done for you I have the right 
to conunand, l)ut I would prefer that you 
should i>ive a willinu' consent to mv wishes. 

Mr. Louis Eedwood, a gentleman and a 
man of honour, has formally proposed for 
your hand, and I have consented to your 
union with him. In the last conversation 
you and I had on this subject I disputed 
your right to oppose me in a matter upon 
which I am so much better a judge than 
yourself. You are young, and inexperienced ; 
you know nothing Avhatever of the world and 
of the traps which designing men set for a 
ladv of vour birth and position. You must 
be guided by me ; Mr. Eedwood is of a 
suitable age ; he moves in the best societ}' ; 
he is good-looking and enormously rich. 



188 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

My estates will be settled on you ; you will 
have a house in London, with surroundinors 
which cannot fail to make you happy ; and 
your affianced will gratify every wish of your 
heart. There is not a lady in England who 
would not joyfully accept the offer which Mr. 
Redwood makes to you. He does us great 
honour, and you are most fortunate to have 
won the love of such a man. I have, I think, 
said enough to induce you, if you need 
inducement, to listen to him favourably, and 
to make me happy. Fully convinced that 
you will offer no further obstacles to an 
alliance upon which I have set my heart, I 
am, my dear Agnes, 

Your affectionate Father, 

C. Haldane. 

From Louis Bedwood, Esq., Queen Elizabeth 
Mansions, Westminster, to Miss Haldane, 
Manor llall, Chudleigh Park. 

My dearest Agnes, 

I have j^our father's sanction to 
address you on a subject very dear to me, and 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 189 

I hope to you. I flatter m3'self that you can 
have mistaken my attentions as little as you 
can doubt my devotion. As a writer of love- 
letters I do not think T should shine ; as a 
husband I should. I la\- my heart at your 
feet ; open Paradise to me, by consenting to 
become my wife. This is not so bad for a 
commencement. 

You shall have everythimr you wish ; I will 
refuse vou nothincc ; an establishment in town, 
in the countr}', on the continent. If you 
want to stop at home, we will stop at home ; 
if vou want to travel, we will travel ; vou 
shall command me in every way. I dare say 
you know I am rich, for which I thank my 
stars : spend my money for me, and make me 
a happy man. I might have waited till your 
father returned home before makin^f niv 
proposal, but I could not stand the delay. I 
am burning to know my fate ; do not keep 
me in suspense. Kindly accept the accom- 
panying trifles. I have selected them with 
the greatest care, but if the stones and 
settin2:s are not to vour liking we will have 



o 



190 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

them altered. I am urging your father to 
hasten home ; I want him to advise me about 
carria"-es and horses. You will have to come 
to town when he returns, and your taste shall 
be followed in ever3nhing. 

Your devoted lover, 

Louis Epjdwood. 

From Miss Ilaldane to her Father. 

My dear Father, 

I am very, very sorry that I cannot do 
as you wish. I do not love Mr. Redwood, 
and I cannot marry him. Were my heart not 
engaged I could not accept him ; in my own 
defence I am forced to say that I do not 
believe him to be a good or a sincere man. I 
may be wrong, but I cannot help saying what. 
I feel. My dear father, his riches would not 
make me happy ; I would not mind being 
poor with the man I love ; with Mr. Redwood, 
my hfe would be a life of deceit and misery. 
I beg you to forgive me ; the thought of your 
displeasure makes me very wretched ; I will 
do anything you ask, but this I cannot. I 



LETTERS CONTINUED. I'Jl 

have already promised you that I will not 
marry without your consent, and it' you 
withhold it I must remain as I am. My dear 
father, I write in love and duty, but I 
cannot be false to the dictates of my heart. 
Your loving and unhappy daughter, 

Agnes. 

From Miss llaldane to Louis Redwood^ Esq. 
Dear Sir, 

I feel honoured by the proposal you 
have made to me, and rei?ret that I cannot 
accept it. I have told my father so in a 
letter. Trustinf;^ vou will meet another airl 
who will be worthier of you than myself, I 
remain, 

Yours respectfully, 

Agnes Haldane. 

From Louis Redwood, Esq., London, to C. 
Haldane, Esq., New York. 
Dear Haldane, — 

I enclose your daughter's reply to 
my proposal, and I hope you will hke it. If 
I'm not mistaken you will find it an expensive 
piece of paper. Short and sweet, is it not — 



192 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

damned short and sweet ? But I'll make it 
short and sweet for you if she doesn't take it 
back — and pretty quick, too ! I sent her a 
model of a love-letter ; took me almost a day 
to put it in form ; I worried over it like a 
terrier; and this is the answer she treats me 
with. She doesn't even condescend to 
mention the case of jewels I sent her — cost 
me over a thousand pounds — but despatches 
them back to me without a word, the case 
unopened. I know it hasn't been opened, by 
a little trap-mark I set on it. I'm not much 
of a Christian, Haldane, any more than you 
are yourself. When I get a slap on one side 
of my face I show my teeth, and those who 
abuse me live to repent it. What do yon 
think ? Lamb & Freshwater have been on to 
me again about that mortgage ; and you'll 
receive a notice from them by this mail. 
Funny coincidence, is it not ? I have not 
paid that money you ask for into your bank 
— that's funny, too. Fact is, I'm riled. 

Do I give up the hunt ? No — and here's 
your chance, your only chance, if all you've 
told me is true. Perhaps you'll talk of my 



LETTEES CONTINUED. 193 

throwing you over. I don't throw you over, 
but you know what the inducement has been. 
And now the ])rizeisto be snatched from me. 
Very well. I'll have some satisfjiction for it ; 
I'll sell you and your daughter up. See how 
she likes that. I'm not blind or deaf, 
Haldane ; there's another fellow in the wa}'. 
If you aren't clever enough to shunt him ofl', 
take the consequences. It's quite as much 
}'our affair as mine. I'm playing the mag- 
nanimous in not retiring from the field at 
once, and leaving the affair entirely in the 
hands of Lamb & Freshwater, but I confess I 
don't like to be beat, and I'll hold on a while 
longer. Lamb and Freshwater inform me 
that the mortgage must be paid off or renewed 
this very day two months. If you can't cash 
up you know my terms for renewal, so be 
wise in time and bring your precious daughter 
to her senses. If you are not a fool you will 
take the first steamer home, and I wish you 
joy of your reflections during the voyage. 
Yours most unamiably, 

Louis Eedwood. 
VOL. II. 2S 



l'J4 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Cahle message from Ilaldane, New York, to 
Redwood, London. 

Shall be in London in a fortnight. Mean- 
while have written to my dauofhter. It w^ill 
be all right. Lamb & Freshwater's notice 
mere formality, I suppose. 

From. C. Ilaldane, Esq., New York, to Miss 
Haldane, Manor Hall, Chudleigh Park. 

ActNer, — 

You have distressed me terriblv. 
Mr. Eedwood's offer must be accepted — ynust, 
I say. There is no alternative. You compel 
]ne to disclose what I hoped to keep always 
from you. I have been a good father to you, 
and wished to spare your feehngs, but I must 
now^ tell you the plain truth. 

For years past I have been in difficulties, 
and only one person has stepped forward to 
save me. That person is Mr. Louis Eedw^ood. 
He has advanced me large sums of mone}^ 
■wdiich have been spent in maintaining n\y 
position, and yours. When he first assisted me 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 195 

you were a child, and there could have been 
no thought of love-making in his mind, but as 
you grew up lie learnt to love you. The 
kindness he showed towards me was perfectly 
disinterested, and had you not been in exist- 
ence he would have continued to be my 
friend. But you have angered him, and the 
child I nourished is now my enemy. My fate 
is in your hands ; if } ou do not accept Mr. 
Redwood I shall be a ruined man. You must 
perform your duty. What you say about 
your heart being engaged is childish and 
absurd ; what vou sa^' about Mr. Redwood is 
ridiculous and unjust, lie will make you a 
good husband ; he will give you a position 
that titled ladies will envy. You have no 
choice in the matter ; the attitude you have 
assumed is unwarrantable. Understand that 
I will allow no further hesitation or evasion. 
I command you to write to him instantly, 
retractino- that refusal. He is wiUing even 
now to prove himself our best, our only 
friend. If vou fail in vour duty I discard 
you. My home is no longer yours if you are 

2S* 



19G THE MARCH OF FATE. 

rebellious ; you must seek one elsewhere. 
Upon receipt of this letter you will send me a 
messao'e bv cable to allay mv anxiety. I 
enclose a form, so that you will have no 
excuse for neglect. Two words will suffice : 
" I consent. — Aofnes." Then you will have 
done your duty to me and to yourself, and you 
will live to bless the choice you have made. 

Your father, 

C. Haldane. 

Cable Message from Miss Haldane^ Chudleigh 
Park^ to C. Haldane, Esq.^ New York. 

I cannot, I will not consent. I have heard 
somethinof of him which fills me with horror. 

Agnes. 

From Rachel Diprose, Manor Ilall, Chudleigh 
Park, to George MilUngton, Shepherd's Bush, 
London. 

My dear George, — 

Wliatever is o-oimr to become of us 
I have not the least idea. Everything is at 
sixes and sevens, and a i?ood deal worse than 



LEITEKS CONTINUED. I'M 

that. ^\y dear young lady is in a dreadful 
way, and goes about like a ghost. Her 
father is here, and so is that hateful wretch 
Mr. Itedwood, and I wish they were both at 
the bottom of the Eed Sea. I want to know 
why some people are allowed to live. I am 
sure it is wrong, and if I had my way I would 
make it liuht. Yes, I would. Now what do 
you think of me ? You had better give me 
up, George, dear. 

Ever since my youni? ladv i?ot that letter 
without any name to it, telling her such 
dreadful thinors of Mr. Redwood and that girl 
Honoria, she has not been like herself. What 
a monster he is — and is Honoria any better ? 
There ! I haven't patience with things ! 
Before that inj dear mistress was worried 
enough. Her sweetheart over the seas, there 
was something the matter with him, and she 
sighed and cried till she made me cry and 
sigh too ; and now her father has come home, 
and Mr. Redwood with him, and between 
them they are fretting my young lady's life 
out of her. When they are having dinner I 



198 THE ilARCH OF FATE. 

wish bones would stick in their throats and 
choke them, the wretches, that I do ! 

To make things worse, her sweetheart 
across the seas can't do anything to help her. 
He went away to make his fortune, and it 
is as far off as ever. George, dear, what 
is to be done ? 1 can't think of anything ; 
can you ? 

What a foolish, foolish question ! What 
can you or anyone do while those two fiends 
— yes, George, fiends — go on as they are 
doing? They're the masters, and between 
them they'll break my dear young lady's 

heart unless Well, don't be surprised at 

anythinf]^ that occurs. We never know what 
we can do till we are put to it. Xot that it 
will bring you and me any nearer together. 
I'm speaking in riddles, you'll think. I can't 
help it — I can't help anything. 

They are trying to buy me over. Mr. 
Haldane comes to me first, and says that my 
young lady does not appear to be very well, 
and has got some nonsensical notion in her 
head about a young man far away, and what 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 11)9 

a stupid thing it is, and what a lovely time 
there is before her with Mr. Eedwood for a 
lover and a husband, and how beautiful it 
Avill be for me when I'm living in London with 
ni}' lady, and going to the theatres, and 
having ail sorts of pleasures, and how there's 
a gold watch and chain, and two Ijeautiful 
silk dresses waiting for me on the day she is 
married at a grand church in London, with 
heaps of bridesmaids, and orange blossoms, 
and white veils, and all that, and all that, till 
there's a rej^jular buzzinii' in my ears. ]iut I 
press my fingers to them, and the humming 
goes away, and I curtsey and say I hope my 
young lady will be happy, and then he goes 
away, thinkinoj he's made it all ri<?lit with me. 
But if Mr. Haldane thinks he has bought me 
over, and that I am going to do anything to 
make my young lady marry that detestable 
Mr. Eedwood, he's reckonin<T without his host. 
No ; not for fifty gold watches and five 
hundred silk dresses would I do it. Then 
Mr. Redwood sneaks up and says, "Rachel, 
you're a sensible girl, and I'll bet a 



200 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

hundred to one you've got a sweetheart, and 
a lucky chap he is " — (I've my own opmion 
about that George) — " and he'll be a luckier 
on the day I'm married to your mistress, for 
there's live ten pound notes waiting for you 
when the wedding comes off." It's all waiting 
for me, gold watches, silk dresses, and 
ten pound notes. Enough to turn a poor 
girl's head, but it doesn't turn mine. I'm 
not to be bought by Mr. Haldane and Mr. 
Eedwood. If we ever marry, George, dear, 
you're going to have a very foolish wife, but 
as it's not at all certain that we ever shall 
marry you needn't worry over it beforehand. 
Shall I scratch out the last words ? No, 
because I have never deceived you before, 
and I won't deceive you now. My dear 
young lady will never, never marry Mr. Louis 
Redwood, and she has made a promise that 
she will not marry anyone without her father's 
consent. It isn't at all likely that he will give 
his consent to her manying her sweetheart 
across the seas, even if he was to come home 
rich, and as my young lady therefore will 



LETTEKS CONTINUED. -*Ul 

never marry at all, neither will I. There it is, 
in a nnlslicll. We shall both die old maids. 
I am so sorry for you, dear old George ; but 
never you mind ; there's as good fish in the 
sea as ever came out of it, and there's 
hundreds and hundreds of voung ladies ready 
to jump at you the moment you hold up your 
little fniger. Good-bye, dear. Give my love 
to your dear father. As things are, I musn't 
send you any. 

Your true and loving sweetheart, 

Eachel Du'Rose. 

From George Millington, London, to Uac/iel 
Diprose, Chudleigh Park. 

My dearest Eachel, — 

Your letter is rather confused, but 
I understand it very well, and I can see clearly 
how matters stand. You are rather a whirl- 
wind, but I am not, and when we are married 
your temper and mine will make a very good 
mixture. My dear, I am really sorry for the 
unhappy state of affairs at the Hall, and if I 
could do anything to help sweet Miss Haldane 



202 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

I'd fly to do it. I wish you would tell her so. 
Not that it will be of any real use, but when 
anyone is in trouble it does them no harm to 
know that there are people wdio feel for them. 
About 3'our d3dng an old maid, Rachel — no, 
Eachel, I set my face against it ; I can be as 
determined as you, and determined I am to 
marry you, if not this year, next, if not next 
year, the year after. So don't let us have 
any more talk about other young ladies ready 
to jump at me. They may jump ; I shan't 
hold out my arms to catch them. 

I will tell you what father has found out 
through his old partner, Mr. Barlow. Mr. 
Eedwood has got Mr. Ilaldane under his 
thumb, and can sell him up at any minute he 
pleases. That's the secret of their friendship, 
and of their both trying to force Miss Haldane 
into the match. Father wants me to say this. 
We have a home, not very grand, certainly, 
but very comfortable, and there it is for you 
and your young lady, if ever you should be 
driven to London for a time. Of course it is 
a wild idea, but father says, " Just you put 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 203 

that down, George," and I have put it 
down. 

I am at work on the most beautiful dress- 
ing table you ever saw, all of inlaid wood, 
with your name, Eacliel, inlaid on the top. I 
am getting quite a houseful of furniture ready 
for us. Father sends his love to you, and his 
respects and sympathy to Miss Ilaldane. As 
for me, I can't find enough love to send you, 
but all I have is yours. Send me another 
letter very soon. 

Your faithful sweetheart, 

George. 

From Rachel Diprose, Child lei(jh Park, to 
George Millwijton, London. 

My dear old George, — 

You are a dear good fellow, that 
you are. After I posted my last letter to you, 
I said to myself, " Whatever will George think 
of me for writing such a hotch-potch ? " for so 
it seemed to me when I sent it off. But I was 
worked up into a regular pitch of excitement, 
and there's no one I can speak my mind freely 



204 THE MARCH OJ^" FATE. 

to but you. It is such a relief. I know you 
are patienter than I am, and better tempered, 
and nicer aUo^ether, but if thincfs should ever 
happen to come right I'll try to make it up to 
you, I will, indeed, George, dear. The idea 
of your callimr me a whirlwind ! but I am 
one, I feel like one. If I could whisk my 
j'oung lady up now, and carry her over the 
sea to her sweetheart there, and see the 
wedding-ring on her finger, it would be done 
without waiting to consider about it. That's 
the way a foolish woman talks, isn't it, 
George ? If she could do this, if she could 
do that — as if wishin<j was the least bit of 
good in the world ? 

George, dear, things are worse than when I 
sent my last letter. Mr. Eedwood goes about 
as smiling as ever, making presents almost 
every day to Miss Haldane, presents that she 
never looks at unless she's forced to ; but Mr. 
Haldane is looking very black. Yesterday 
morning I was going through the passage 
when I heard Mr. Haldane say to my young 
lady, " You have made up 3'our mind to ruin 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 205 

me." " No, papa," my young lady answered ; 

" only I will never, never " That is all I 

' heard : I didn't dare to wait because the door 
was open, and they were talking close to it. 
Last night it was settled that there was going 
to be a grand ball here, and that any number 
of ladies and gentlemen are to be invited. ]\Iy 
young lady looks ver}- white over it. IIow is 
it all going to end ? What a good, patient 
boy you are to make all those beautiful things 
that will never be used, for a house that will 
never be furnished ! The sight of my dear 
3'oung lady's unhappiness drives me into 
saying things I should never dream of. I will 
write to you again about the ball. I told Miss 
Haldane what your father said about your 
house, and she asked me to thank you, and 
said I ought to be a happy girl ; and I should 
be, George, dear, if she was. Good-bye, dear. 
With love to vou and your father. 
Your true sweetheart, 

Eachel. 



206 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

From George MllUngton, London, to Rachel 
Diprose, Chudleigh Park. 

My deaeest Eachel, — 

Just received your letter, and write 
a line before c^oinf^ to work. Don't be so low 
spirited ; everything will come right. I can 
see that thinsfs are comins^ to a crisis with 
Miss Haldane, and that something of the 
greatest importance will soon take i:)lace. I 
do sincerely pity her, and I admire you for 
your loyalty to her. You are staunch to her ; 
you will be staunch to me. What better 
proof could I have ? Only, my dear girl, if 
you cannot prevent things you must not let 
them break 3'our heart. That would be 
foolish — and not fair to me, because your 
heart belongs to me. I bei^ to inform you 
that it is my property-, and you must take 
care of it. The dressing table is fmished, and 
I am planning a washstand to match. I 
must be off; can't afford to lose more than 
half an hour. With love that will never 
change and never grow less, 

Your true sweetheart, 

George. 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 207 

From Rachel Diprose, Chudleigh Park, to 
George JJillinijton, London. 

My DEAR OLD George, — 

You are foolish to be so obstinate, 
but I must not blame you for it. No other 
girl would. But, George, what is the use of 
your ^loinfT^ on makinii; things that will never 
come in use ? Isn't it a waste of wood ? 
And to work my name in them, too ! That 
is more foolish still, unless you can meet 
someone else named Rachel that you would 
like to propose to ; then there would be some 
excuse for you. 

The ball came off last nio^ht, and nobody 
who was there will be likely to forsfet it. 
You said that somethini^ of the srreatest 
importance would soon take place. George, 
it has. 

There was a grand dinner at half-j^ast eight 
o'clock. At half-past seven my young lad}- 
was not dressed. She was sitting in her 
room in her morning dress, and I was waiting 
by ; one of the dressmakers was there as well. 



•208 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" You will be late, Miss Ilaldane," the dress- 
maker said. My young lady did not speak, 
and the dressmaker went away, and came 
back presently with Mr. Haldane. " How is 
this, Agnes ? " he asked, and his face was 
white with passion. " Papa," she said — but 
he stopped her, and sent us from the room. 
In about five minutes he came out — we were 
standing in the passage — and said to me. 
" Go in, and dress your mistress." We both 
went in, and without Miss Haldane or me 
saying one word the dressing was com- 
menced. About twenty minutes past eight 
Mr. Haldane knocked at the door, and asked 
if she was ready. '• In five minutes, sir," 
said the dressmaker. He came ao-ain then, 
and sending the dressmaker away — he is a 
proud gentleman, and hates a scene — he 
called Mr. Eedwood in. In came that 
scorpion, with the most magnificent bouquet 
that ever was seen. He smiled and bowed, 
and offered the bouquet to my mistress ; she 
did not look at him. " Take the flowers, 
Agnes," said Mr. Haldane. If a steel tongue 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 209 

could speak the voice would be like his. My 
young lady turned to him for just one 
moment, and took the bouquet. Then the 
scorpion offered her his arm. " Agnes ! " 
cried Mr. Haldane, and she put her fingers on 
the scorpion's arm. Then they left the room, 
and I tidied it up, and the dressmaker came 
back with the ball dress and arranged it. I 
went down to the kitchen, and all the 
servants were talking about Miss Haldane, 
and saying she looked like a corpse. I held 
my tongue, and let them talk. I heard that 
my young lady and Mr. Eedwood were 
engaged, and that the engagement would be 
announced that night by Mr. Haldane at the 
ball or the supper. Dinner was over at half- 
past ten, and my young lady came back to 
dress for the ball. I didn't see what I am 
going to tell you ; it is only what I heard 
afterwards, but I am sure it is all true, and 
exactly as I describe. Miss Haldane danced 
only one dance, and that by compulsion. 
The scorpion was her partner. If others 
had pity for her, he had none. He did not 
VOL. II. 29 



21 U THE MARCH OF FATE. 

leave her side, and did not dance witli any 
other lady. At about three o'clock in the 
morning, when the supper room was full of 
people, Mr. and Miss Haldane and Mr. 
Redwood being there next to each other, Mr. 
Redwood said something quietly to Mr. 
Haldane, and was heard to say, " It is my 
wish." Then Mr. Haldane got up to make 
a speech, and everybody was quiet. He 
asked them to fill their glasses, and when this 
was done he said, " This ball is given in cele- 
bration of an event which I have the 
happiness to announce to you. It is the 
engagement of my daughter and Mr. Louis 
Redwood, and I ask you to drink to their 
health and happiness." Well, just as they 
were about to drink my young lady rose, and 
held out her arms, and they waited to hear 
what she had to say. She spoke in a very 
low tone, but they say that every word was 
distinct. " My father is mistaken," she said ; 
" Mr. Redwood and I are not enf?aofed." 
They put down their glasses, and looked at 
each other, not knowing what to make of it. 



LETTERS CONTINUED. I'll 

Mr. Redwood never lost countenance. lie 
smiled and said they must have observed that 
Mrss Ilaldane was not well ; the fatigue of the 
night had been too much for her ; and he 
asked them to excuse her. Then he olTered 
her his arm to take her to the ball room, and 
she turned her back upon him, and accepted 
the arm of another gentleman, but she had 
not gone two steps before she sank to the 
ground fainting. She was carried to her 
room, where I was waiting for her, and in a 
few minutes she recovered her senses. I put 
her to bed, and as she begged me to do so, I 
lay down by her side, and we were soon 
asleep. She went to sleep first ; I think she 
was happier because she had made up her 
mind to something. After l)reakfast a 
servant came with a message from her 
father that he must see her at once in his 
study. " Tell my father I will speak to him 
here," she said, and when the servant was 
gone she told me to go to the inner room, 
not considering perhaps that I could hear 
every word that passed between them. I did 

29* 



212 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

as I was told, and presently her father came 
to her, " Now," he said, and his voice grated 
on my ear like the scraping of a knife, " be 
good enough to explain the meaning of your 
conduct last night." " I think, papa," she 
answered, " that you should give me an 
explanation of yours. Wh}^ did you tell the 
people that I was engaged to Mr. Eedwood ? " 
" It is the truth," he said, and she said quite 
boldly, " It is not the truth, papa." " How 
dare you say that to me," he cried, very 
furious, " when you know it is my wish ? " 
" I dare, papa," she said, " because nothing 
on earth can ever force me to marry Mr. 
Eedwood. If you knew what I know about 
him you would not wish me to marry him. 
You would abhor him as I do." " I know 
everything about him," Mr. Ilaldane said. 
" You have some silh", romantic notions in 
your head, and it is time you got rid of them. 
There must be an end to this nonsense. You 
do not know what is best for you ; I do ; and 
I say you will be a happy woman when you 
are Mrs. Eedwood." " That," said my young 



LliTTERS CONTINUED. 21 3 

lady, " I will never be. I will rather beg my 
bread in the streets." " It may come to 
that," said Mr. Haldane. Well, they went on 
talking, ]\Ir. Haldane fuming and begging, 
and she keeping firm. At last he said, " Tell 
me plainly what your objection is to Mr. 
Eedwood ? " " I have more than one objec- 
tion," she said. " Even if I loved him, which 
I do not, and never shall, he has acted 
tow'ards a poor girl in a manner so base and 
dishonourable that I would never aijain take 
his hand in friendship." " I asked you to 
speak plainl}^" her father said. " Eead this," 
she said, and I heard the rustling of paper, 
and knew she was giving him the unsigned 
letter she had received about Mr. Eedwood 
and that Honoria. Everything was quiet 
while he read it ; then he said, " This is the 
work of a scoundrel who has a grudge 
against an honourable gentleman. He shall 
answer for himself." He went away, and 
came back soon wdth Mr. Eedwood himself. 
" Mr. Eedwood," said Mr. Haldane to my 
3^oung lady, " will tell you that the letter is a 



214 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

tissue of falsehoods. " Quite false, I assure 
you," said Mr. Kedwood, in his smooth 
voice : " and now we will forget what is past. 
Why did you not tell me of this letter before ? 
It would have explained what I have never 
been able to understand — why you refused 
me." My young lady answered very steadily, 
but in a lower tone. " My father puts me to 
shame by bringing jou here, and speaking of 
the letter. I cannot discuss it with you. I 
have told you repeatedly, Mr. Eedwood, that 
your attentions are distasteful to me. I beg 
you not to persecute me any longer." " All's 
fair in love and war," said Mr. Eedwood. 
" That I have proposed to you heaven knows 
how man}^ times is the strongest proof I can 
give of my love and devotion. Honour me 
by accepting my hand and fortune." " For 
the last time, Mr. Eedwood," said my young 
lady, "I decline your proposal." " You can't 
deny," said Mr. Eedwood, after a little pause, 
he was speaking now to Mr. Haldane, " that 
I have made a ijood fi^ht of it. 1 sive you 
twenty-four hours. If you can bring your 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 215 

daughter to reason within that time I stand 
to my oirer. If not, I leave tlie matter in the 
hands of Lamb and Freshwater." Then he 
went away, and her father said, " If you do 
not consent to accept Mr. Kedwood before 
this time to-morrow I turn you from mv 
house. You will hnd another home ; this 
will be no longer open to you." "I will 
never marry Mr. Eedwood, papa," said the 
poor young lady. " You have one day to 
decide," said Mr. Ilaldane. "I have 
decided, papa," said my young lady very 
sweetly. " Forgive me." But he turned 
away savagely from her, and slammed the 
door behind him. 

I told mv vounor lady that I had heard 
everything, and she said she had not thought 
of it when she asked me to go to the inner 
room. " But I need not trouble to tell you 
now, Eachel," she said. " You heard what 
my father said, and I have made up my mind 
what to do." Then and there she told me 
that she was o-oino- to leave her father's house 
the verv next morninsf — that is to-morrow, 



216 THE MAIICH OF FATE. 

George — and intended to go to London, and 
try to live there. " But how, my dear mis- 
tress," I asked, " how will you get a living in 
that big place ? " " Oh," she answered, " I 
can paint, I can draw, I can sew, I can teach. 
Perhaps by and bye my father will forgive 
me." Upon tliis I told my young lady that if 
she went to London I would go with her, and 
work for her, whether she w^ould allow^ me or 
not. The idea of her workincf for herself ! 
She doesn't know what is before her ; I do, 
although I've never been in London. She 
wouldn't consent to it at first, she wouldn't as 
much as listen to it, but I said it would not 
be right or proper for her to live in London 
all by herself, and that she must have some 
one to look after her, and who could do that 
better than I could ? And at last, George, 
she consented ; and she kissed me, and said 
such beautiful things to me, and we had a 
good cry together, and so it is all settled. 

I am going to run out and post this letter, 
and I shall write you another letter from 
Chudleigh, perhaps late to-night, and another 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 217 

■when we get to London. I send 30U my 
love, and yonr father, too, tliongh I don't see 
what is the good of it. 

Your affectionate Sweetheart, 

Eaciiel. 

From Bachel Diprose, Chudleigh Park, to 
George Millington, London. 

My dear old George, — 

It is all over ; we are going to leave 
Chudleigh Park, to leave the old house ; and 
wdiether we ever see it aa'ain who can tell ? 
I shouldn't wonder if the skv was to fall on 
the top of the earth ; I shouldn't wonder at 
anything. 

Her father came to her this mornino- when 
I was with her, and said, without ordering 
me from the room as he always does when he 
sees me there, " Have you considered what I 
said to you yesterday ? " "I have, papa," 
said my dear mistress. " What is your 
answer ? " he asked. Then it was my 
mistress who sent me away, and I went and 
walked up and down, wondering how it 



218 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

would end, and whether he would have the 
heart to turn her out of the house. After a 
little while I saw Mr. Haldane and Mr. Red- 
wood walkiniT in the ^rounds too^ether, and 
knowing my dear mistress was alone I went 
up to her. She was whiter than ever, and 
she said, " 1 am jjoinix away, Eachel," she 
said, and then I knew that it was all over. 
" To-day, Miss ? " I asked. " Yes, to-day, 
Rachel," she said. " To London ? " I asked. 
" Yes, Rachel," she said, " to London." 
" When shall we start, Miss ? " I said. Then 
she began to talk to me again, and said that 
I had no rio-ht to sacrifice myself because she 
was in trouble — ^just think of her speaking of 
sacrifice to me, George, dear ! — and that it 
was my duty to look after myself. I said I 
was lookino- after myself, and that I had 
thought the matter well over, and didn't 
intend to leave her service. Well, George, 
dear, the long and the short of it is that she 
had to give way, and when she confessed that 
my company would be a comfort to her, my 
heart was light as light could be. Then I 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 219 

helped her to look over her things. She's 
got any number of dresses, but she wouldn't 
take them with her ; she chose three plain 
frocks, and some other bits of dress she can't 
do witliout, and I packed them in a trunk, 
and smupfiTled in one or two things when she 
wasn't looking. " There's your jewellery, 
Miss," I said. Would you believe it, George, 
she wouldn't take a single thinj^ her father 
had given her ? " But they're yours. Miss," I 
said, " your very own, to do what you like 
with." " They belong to my father now," she 
said, " I have no right to them. I'm not 
penniless either, Eachel ; I've got over twelve 
pounds in my purse, and that will keep us 
ever so loncf if we are careful." I asked her 
if there was anv friend in London that she 
would go and ask advice of, and she said 
there was, and mentioned Mr. Palmer's name. 
Mr. Palmer is her sweetheart's father, George, 
and I was i^lad to hear that she had thought 
of him. He is not well off, but that doesn't 
matter ; she will have another friend to stand 
by her as well as me. When my own box 



220 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

was packed I went to the steward and got 
what wages were due to me. Mr. Redwood 
was there, and after I had signed for my 
money he asked me if I wanted a place. 
" When I do," I said, " I sha'n't come to you 
for one." He onl}" laughed, and said that 
some of us had a lesson to learn, and perhaps 
they'd be sorry when it was too late. I don't 
think that man has a heart. 

The train doesn't start for nigh upon two 
hours, so we have plent}^ of time. What do 
you think my poor mistress is doing ? Taking 
leave of her home ; ofoino; to her favourite 
rooms and places in and out of the house, 
and saying good-bye to them. I wanted to 
go with her, but she said she preferred going 
alone, so I came up here to write my letter 
to you. A few minutes ago I looked out of 
the window, and there was my young lady 
walking slowly along, looking at the trees 
and the flowers, with all her heart in her 
eyes. Not far from her stood her father and 
the scorpion. She turned towards them, but 
they never moved. The scorpion took out 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 221 

his cigar case, ofTered it to Mr. Ilaldane, and 
then lit his cigar, with a look in his eyes that 
made my blood boil. Seeing they would not 
take any notice of her, my young lady moved 
slowly away, while they went on talking and 
smoking. What a pair ! I hope a judgment 
will fall on them some day, and that I shall 
be there to see it. That's all the harm I wish 
them. 

There was our boxes to take to the railway 
station. We couldn't carry them, and it was 
quite as likely as not that orders had been 
given that nobody was to assist us. So, not 
to be outdone, I went down to the " Brindled 
Cow" and told the landlord to send up a 
carriage for us. 

Now, George, don't you go blaming me 
because I don't call upon you to meet us at 
the railway station in London. I know what 
I'm doing, and I'm doing everything for the 
best. And don't you go and think hard 
things of me for not asking you to help us ; 
if you do I'll never speak to you again as 
long as I live. Besides, I've got no claim on 



222 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

you now ; it's all over between us, for I can't 
expect you to go on waiting for me for ever ; 
so, George, dear, consider yourself free, and 
look out for another girl. You won't have 
any trouble in finding one. You will always 
be my friend, won't you ? Good-bye, dear. 
With a thousand thousand kisses, and with 
my eyes brimming over, thinking of you and 
everything, I remain, 

Your loving and unhappy 

Eachel. 

From Rachel Diprose, 5 Warrington Street, 
B.C., to George M'dlington, ShephercVs 
Bush. 

My dear old George, — 

Here we are, in London, and now I 
can write to you. We are settled down in 
four rooms, two on the first floor, and two on 
the second. The front room on the first floor 
is what we call the living room ; the back 
room we use as a kitchen ; the two rooms on 
the second floor are our bedrooms. So we 
are quite comfortable, at least I am. But 



LETTERS COiSTINUED. 223 

oh, what a change it is for my dear young 
lady ! Xot that she comphiins. There she 
sits while I am writing to you, with some 
work in her hand she is trying to do, and not 
making a very good job of it. " I nmst learn, 
Eacliel," she says, and I don't try to dissuade 
her, for it's good for her to have something 
to do, whether she does it right or not ; it 
prevents her from thinking too much. Now 
I must tell you about our going away from 
Chudleigh Park. 

There was the carriage from the " Brindled 
Cow " at the door, and there was the landlord 
himself to drive it, and the ostler to help 
down with our boxes. It isn't often the 
landlord of the " Brindled Cow "' drives a 
customer in any of his traps, and I knew 
he'd done it this time in honour of my dear 
young lady, and I was grateful to him for 
doing so much. 

George, dear, all the servants were outside 
in the grounds, and they all came up to her 
and said, " Good-bye, miss, and we hope we 
shall soon see you back again." It was a 



224 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

trial to lier, but she bore it bravely. " Good 
bye," she said, and she shook hands with 
them all, and took the flowers they had 
gathered for her ; and the carriage, too, was 
full of flowers. I could have kissed every 
one of them, I could, though they were not 
all females ; I did kiss them that were, for 
they said good-bye to me as well, and what 
little differences we'd had at one time and 
another were all forgotten and forgiven. 
There was a great St. Bernard dog, my dear 
young lady's favourite of all the dogs in the 
place, the dog that was hers and nobody 
else's, that I knew she'd have given the world 
to take with her, but didn't dare, for fear of 
her father.' She knelt down and put her 
arms round his neck and kissed him again 
and again ; and George, dear, in all the 
people that were standing about there wasn't 
a dry eye. Yes, there was ; I am telling a 
story. The scorpion was there, standing on 
the steps of the Hall, as if he and nobody 
else was master there — and perhaps he is. 
He was smoking, of course ; he is always 



LliTTEKS CONTINUED. 225 

smoking, and I wish he'd smoke himself into 
a fit that he'd never recover from, lie was 
looking on, cool and smiling, and seemed to 
enjoy it all. Oh ! — l)ut there, I'd better 
keep myself in ! If there's such a thing as 
justice in heaven or earth, it will fall on 
him one day and break his wicked heart. 
He stood there as cool as yuu please, and 
when we were in the carriage he was brute 
enough to raise liis hat to my dear young 
lady. Chud — that's the name of the dear 
great dog — was quite close to the carriage, 
and I thought if I was in my mistress's place 
I'd tell him to jump upon the scorpion and 
tear his heart out. And Chud would have 
done it, too. 

Then the carria<]i:e bea'an to move off, and 
the servants ran after it to the gates of the 
Park, and there was the lodge -keeper and his 
wife with more flowers, and every man there 
had his hat ofl', and every female servant had 
her apron to her eyes. The rector came out 
with his wife and children, and thev shook 
hands with mv mistress, and asked her to 
VOL. II. 30 



22G THE MARCH OF FATE. 

write to them, and whether she promised or 
not I can't say, but she kissed the children 
and we drove away. At the door of the 
" Brindled Cow " a hamper was put into the 
carriage, and whatever you may say of the 
landlady she's a good sort, and I'll never 
speak a word against her, though she wasn't 
a favourite of mine. And all the children 
came out of school, and waved their hands, 
and cried, " God bless you, lady ! " — Oh, 
George, the world isn't so bad after all ; 
there's plenty of good people in it, and we 
met a many of them in Chudleigh village. 
At last we got to the station, and at the very 
moment the train was movinof awav, the door 
of our carriage was quickly opened, and who 
should jump into it but Chud ! "Oh, my 
dear, dear Chud," my dear mistress cried, 
" you must go, you must go ! " She tried to 
push him out, but she might as well have 
tried to move a mountain. There Chud lay 
stretched out, with his great head between 
his paws, licking my dear young lady's hands, 
and he never stirred till the train was rattlincr 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 227 

along. Then he got up, and put his head in her 
lap, and looked up into her face with hi.s lovely 
speaking e3^es, as much as to say, " I'm going 
to stop with you, and go where 3'ou go, and 
whoever ti'ies to prevent me had better look 
out for himself." And they better had, for if 
ever a faithful lieart Ijcat in anyone's breast 
it beats in Chud's, and he'd lay down his life 
for his mistress, just as I would myself. She 
put her arms round him, and said, "Yes, 
Chud, if they don't take you away you shall 
remain with me, and we'll never, never part ! " 
Chud gave me his ]iaw, and we shook hands, 
if you don't mind mv savini? so, and here he 
is now in our room, blinking at me. 

Well, Georcfe, we o-ot to London all safe, 
and then we liad to look out for lodgings. 
"We must fmd rooms among the poor, 
Eachel," mv vouni? ladv said ; and that is 
how we came to live here. We slept here 
last nio-ht for the first time, and before we 
went to bed I posted a letter to Mr. Palmer, 
and he came to see us to-day. What a 
Cfentleman he is — a real true Erentleman — and 

20* 



228 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

how he comforted my young lady ! He wants 
her to live nearer to hhn, and perhaps we 
shall after a week or so. The worst of it is, 
he's as poor as we are, but it's something to 
have such a friend in this great wilderness of 
a city. She wrote to her father this after- 
noon, and told him where she was, but I 
don't expect she'll get any answer from him. 
And now, George, I've told you everything, 
and if anybody had said that I could write 
such letters as I've been doing lately I would 
never have believed him ; but there's no 
knowing what you can do till you try. If 
you get this letter to-morrow, and care to 
come and see us, why, George, dear, we shall 
be glad to see you — at least, my young lady 
and Chud will ; but if you're coming to 
scold me, and with any idea that you can make 
me alter my mind, you had better keep away. 
I'm longing to see you, George, and I know 
you will be good. 

Your lovino- sweetheart, 

Eachel. 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 2-29 

From the Iter. Mr. Burleigli, Gabriels Gully, 
Otatjo, New Zealand, to G. Palmer, Esq., 
Westminster Palace Road, London. 

My DEAR Sir, — 

You will be surprised to receive a 
letter from a stranger in a distant land, but 
1 write to you, the father of a young friend 
I have made in these parts, for whom I have 
a sincere reiTfard and esteem. I will at once 
allay any anxiety you may feel by saying that 
your son Frederick is well enough in health, 
and that there is nothins^ the matter with 
him physically ; but I think it proper you 
should understand how it is with him in all 
ways. 

You do not need to be told, dear sir, that 
you have for a son a gentleman of refined 
feeling and of honourable impulse. It is im- 
possible for him to descend to a meanness ; 
his is in every respect a noble character, 
which compels admiration from those who 
can understand him. But not ever^^one does 
this, lacking the qualification, and unluckily 



230 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

he is in a part of the world where the human 
atoms are not exactly of his order ; therefore 
until he met me — you will pardon me for this 
piece of vanity — he was somewhat of a 
forlorn wanderer in these wilds, for wilds they 
are. Civilization approaches us, but we are 
as yet familiar with only its rougher attri- 
butes. In the course of time we shall do 
better. The restless, adventurous spirit 
brings out many noble qualities ; it brings 
out, also, many of the baser. Unhappily, 
in the quest of gold, these latter predominate, 
and mortals commonly brought up, suddenly 
finding themselves in possession of gold, 
gravitate the wrong way, — and consequently 
fall. There is no fear of this with your son 
Frederick, and I have touched briefly upon 
the conditions of life among which we move, 
only for the purpose of enlightening you. 
If I judge aright your son would not disclose 
to you, his father, for whom he entertains an 
affection of which a father may be proud, the 
moral difficulties we adventurers from the old 
country have to contend with. 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 231 

Your SOU waudered hitherward in search 
of gold, and he is out of place in the life we 
live. Success would have amply justified 
him ; his want of success is a warning. I 
am myself of an age to be his father. My 
experience has been wide, and I have seen 
many lives wasted. It would cause me in- 
finite regret to see your son's life wasted. I 
cannot disguise my apprehension that there is 
danger ahead. Men fall into an apathetic 
state; the more sensitive, the more refined 
the nature, the greater the danf^er. What is 
lackiniy is rou^li stremrth, and this is lackinj? 
in your son. 

He has worked hard and has not been 
successful. He has seen other men achieve 
fortune, and it has passed him by. But he 
still clung to the mantle of hope. Lately, 
however, a chanixe has come over him. 
Where he was hopeful he is becoming hope- 
less. Animation is degenerating into apathy. 
He works hard still, but the hope that sus- 
tained him is fadino- into listlessness. The 
light upon the hill is growing faint. 



232 • THE MAECH OF FATE. 

It hurts me to observe this. I ask mj'self 
the reason. He is young, he is talented, the 
best years of his Ufe are before him. Let 
them not be wasted here, where there is small 
opportunity for him to work out a befitting 
career. He has told me much of himself, of 
you, of the lady he loves ; but I am of the 
opinion that he has not told me all. A secret 
grief is preying upon him. 

Let me, dear sir, advise you. Your son 
is not in his proper sphere amongst us. He 
has more than talent, he has genius. As an 
artist he may have to pass through j^ears of 
struggle, but success will smile upon him at 
last. He will never meet with it here ; all 
the elements of our outer and inner life are 
opposed to it and to him. His career should 
be worked out in a civilized land, where 3'ou 
are. He loves you ; he has faith and con- 
fidence in you ; if you can afford it, dear sir, 
send for him liome. He will never win 
fortune here. Ever)' day he remains is a 
day wasted. 

If he had the means I would urge him to 



LETTERS CONTINUED, L'33 

take the first ship to EngLaiul ; but he has 
not the means. I doubt if he tells you how 
poor he is. He is working literally hand to 
mouth, and sometimes one does not reach the 
other. If I had the money I would force it 
upon him, but I am a poor minister, with a 
small stipend and a young family to devour 
it. That is the position exactly. 

He is not aware that I am writing to vou. 
I have obtained your address from him in a 
casual way, and he does not suspect my 
motive in asking for it. I am thoroughly 
disinterested in advising you to send for your 
son, for it will be a grievous loss to me, but 
I shall gain some compensation by an artful 
compact I intend to devise, that we shall 
correspond with each other, he giving me 
news of the old world, I oivini? him news of 
the new. In his career at home in the old 
land I shall take a o-enuine interest. His 
letters will be like a breath of sweet air from 
the familiar scenes of my youth. My wife 
and children have a very sincere affection for 
him, and will miss him as much as I sliaU 



234 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

myself. Believe me, my dear sir, to remain, 
with great respect, 

Yours very truly, 

Henry M. Burleigh. 

From G. Palmer, London, to Frederick 
Palmer, New Zealand. 

My dear Boy, — 

I wrote to you three or four da3's 
ago, and here I find myself suddenly writing 
to you again. There are two special reasons 
for my taking up my pen again so soon. One 
springs from a circumstance in which I have 
had no hand and taken no part ; but it is full 
of significance for you and me. The other 
springs from my love for my dear lad. You 
may, if you please, call one fact and the other 
fancy, but the latter, my heart tells me, is as 
tangible as the former. I will speak of the 
fact first. 

My dear Frederick, Agnes is in London, 
driven from her father's home because she 
refuses to marry a man whose suit he favours. 
That this man is a scoundrel I have ample 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 235 

proof, and iiotwitlistauding that I am now 
upholding a charge against her parent, I 
commend and approve of Agnes' action in the 
matter. She has come ill provided with 
funds, and is accompanied by two faithful 
friends, a noble dog who shall sit to me for 
his pictture, and the maid under whose care 
you have written to Agnes from New Zealand. 
She is therefore not without protectors. Her 
intention is to obtain some employment which 
will enable her to live until the necessity no 
longer devolves upon her. I do not seek to 
oppose this design ; it is admirable and praise- 
worthy, and I trust she will be able to carry 
it out. From what I have learned the breach 
between her and her father is not likely to 
be healed. ]3ound by her promise to him 
with respect to yourself she remains true to 
vou, and will wed no other man. She is a 
sweet and patient lady, and I could wish my 
dear son no worthier wife, if it ever be your 
good fortune to be united to her. Until we 
meet, which I trust will be soon, you may 
depend that I shall look after her to the best 



236 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

of my ability. I will be a second father to 
her, kinder and tenderer hearted, I hope, than 
the father who has turned her from his doors. 
And this, my dear Frederick, brings me to 
my second reason for writing to you again so 
soon. 

I dreamt of you last night. I saw you 
toiling on the goldfields, surrounded by un- 
congenial companions, living an unhappy life 
in an atmosphere which must be repugnant 
to you, deprived of love and all that makes 
life sweet. So mournful was your appearance 
in my dreams that I said, " Can this being, 
seemingly on the brink of despair, be the 
dear bright lad that has been the sunshine of 
my days ? " My heart went out to you, m}'- 
dear son, and so great was my trouble when 
I awoke that I took all your letters from New 
Zealand, and read them carefully through. 
Frederick, a light seemed to dawn upon me ; 
not till this morning have I read your letters 
aright. But now I read between the lines, 
and I see that you were concealing your un- 
happiness from me, and that there was some- 



LETTERS CONTINUED. 237 

tiling prophetic in my dreams. My dear lad, 
voii have worked on the goldfields and have 
been unsuccessful, and I can see clearly — I 
am writing now with a prophetic mind — that 
you have less prospect of success there 
than ever. A larije fortune is not needed for 
happiness ; a modest competence will serve ; 
and vou have even here a brifrhter chance of 
iiainin"' the former than where vou are now 
so miserablv toiling", awav from home, and 
separated from all who are dear to you. Yes, 
Frederick, I not onlv read vonr letters ajjain, 
I looked through your sketches and studied 
them by the new light. My dear lad, there 
is more promise in them than I ever discerned 
before ; it is in your power to achieve great 
success, and vou know what success as an 
artist means in England. It means fortune 
as well as fame — it means happiness — it 
means Agnes. When vou have won dis- 
tinction her father can no longer hold out. 
Come home, then, without delay, and work 
for your reward, come home and win it. My 
dear lad, I need you — ni}' heart cries out for 



238 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

you ; Agnes needs you ; when she takes your 
hand in hers, brightness will come again into 
her eyes ; your presence will lighten her 
heart. I implore 3'ou not to refuse. My 
heart tells me something more — that you 
have not the money to pay for your passage 
home. I enclose a draft that will defray all 
your expenses. We will work together, side 
by side, and all my early hopes will blossom 
into flower at my son's success. Surely I 
need say no more than I have already said. 
Make all you love happy by not losing a 
single day after the receipt of this letter. 
AVith heartfelt love, 

I am, ever ^-our affectionate father, 

G. Palmer. 



END OF VOL. n. 



PRIN'TED BY 

KK[;hY A.VI) CO. LIMITED, GATE STIIEET, LINCOLN'S l.S'N FlIOLU-, W.C, 

AND KINGSTON-ON-TUAMES. 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 



Form L9-25m-9,'47(A5618)444 



ur 



SOUTHFRtJ REGIONAL L IBRARV f ACIUTY 




AA 000 365 432 4